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Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Rules Lackluster Labor Day
“Guardians of the Galaxy” became the year’s highest grossing U.S. release this weekend, goosing an otherwise drab Labor Day box office.
The Marvel film topped the domestic charts for the third time and benefited from crowds hoping to stretch out the waning days of summer, grossing $16.3 million over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday period and pushing its U.S. total to $274.6 million. It will likely end the four-day holiday with $21.2 million in Stateside ticket sales from 3,462 locations.
That easily tops a pair of new wide releases, “November Man” and “As Above, So Below,” which brought in $7.7 million and $8.3 million respectively — modest numbers for modest to low budgeted films with much to be modest about.
It also bested a trip down memory lane, to a different time, when blockbuster films could be based on — gasp! — an original idea, instead of just comic books, toy lines and the flotsam and jetsam of “brand pre-awareness. »
- Brent Lang
‘Birdman’ and ‘Foxcatcher’ Leave Telluride Audiences Blissed Out and Bowled Over
Alejandro González Iñárritu's “Birdman” had first earned its wings with a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival a few days earlier, but the director has a particular love for the Telluride Film Festival, bringing his much-anticipated film to a fest he attends even when he doesn't have a movie to show. Introducing the American premiere of “Birdman” in Telluride on Saturday night, Iñárritu gushed that the festival “always feels like a Disneyland for adults. It's a weekend in paradise. If heaven has a form for cinephiles, it would be Telluride.” It turns out Iñárritu can give back as good as he. »
- Chris Willman
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Rises to No. 1 in China
Caesar crossed the Rubicon and headed straight for China this weekend, as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” topped the foreign box office.
The post-apocalyptic thriller hasn’t snagged first place on the overseas charts since the end of July, but it was able to recapture the crown on the strength of its People’s Republic debut. The film took in $51.2 million from 29 territories, with $47 million of that coming from China.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” now commands a worldwide total of $613.4 million, roughly $130 million more than its predecessor, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” made during its entire global run. It has two more openings on the books; Japan and Venezuela in September.
Sliding in at number two was “Lucy.” The Scarlett Johansson thriller racked up $31.2 million to bring its global haul to $269.4 million. This weekend it surpassed “The Fifth Element” and its $263.9 million total »
- Brent Lang
Todd English, Celebrity Chef, Arrested for Dwi in the Hamptons
Celebrity chef Todd English, who has opened restaurants around the country and written multiple cookbooks, was arrested Sunday on a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities said. Police in Southampton, New York, said English, 54, was arrested Sunday morning on a county road on Long Island. He made a court appearance later in the day, and authorities said he posted $1,500 bail. The New York Post reported that cops said that the arrest took place at around 3:30 a.m., with English at the wheel of a 2011 Buick when he was pulled over for drifting out of his lane near the historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. »
- Associated Press
'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Book of Mormon' Star Ben Platt on Cabaret, Magic and Meryl Streep
Ben Platt is not your average twentysomething — well, twenty-year-old. He hasn’t even added a "something" yet, and he already has a more robust resume than those many "somethings" his senior. While his contemporaries are off at college, playing beer pong and pledging fraternities (or a cappella groups), Platt is juggling: he's playing lovable Star-Wars-and-magic-obsessed Benji Applebaum in the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2, and once again headlining Book of Mormon on Broadway as Elder Cunningham. And as if that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Platt wrote a one-man cabaret show, which he'll
- Suzy Evans
James Brown Biopic ‘Get on Up’ To Open Zurich Festival
The film chronicles Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to his status as a superstar of the music industry and Godfather of Soul.
Taylor is familiar with Zurich, having presented there “The Help” in 2011, ahead of its Oscar win.
Pic will be distributed in French-speaking Switzerland on Sept. 26, and in German-speaking Switzerland on Oct. 9. Universal released it on Aug. 1 in the U.S., where it has so far grossed over $29.5 million.
As previously announced, »
- Elsa Keslassy
History's 'Houdini': What the Critics Are Saying
History Channel's magical miniseries Houdini begins tonight, starring Adrien Brody as the death-defying escape artist in a TV event that traces the arc of Houdini's life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame. The Lionsgate/A&E Studios four-hour event also stars Kristen Connolly (House of Cards) as Bess, Harry Houdini's stage assistant and wife. Oscar nominee Uli Edel directed the project, adapted by Nicholas Meyer from the 1976 book Houdini: A Mind in Chains: A Psychoanalytic Portrait (written by his father, Bernard C. Meyer). Read what top critics are saying about Houdini: The Hollywood Reporter's TV critic Allison Keene, in her review, calls it
- Ashley Lee
Lars Von Trier Set To Direct English-Language TV Skein
Von Trier is expected to start writing the script this fall. The plot of the series and cast have yet to be unveiled.
Sold by TrustNordisk, the show will be produced by Vesth. Peter Aalbæk Jensen, Zentropa’s founder and von Trier’s longtime producer, will exec produce . The series will be developed in association with Denmarks Radio and executive producer Piv Bernth.
Aalbæk Jensen is looking to build anticipation for the series, claiming “it will be a TV series without precedent.”
Zentropa will be casting high-profile talent for “The House,” which is due to start lensing in 2016.
“The Kingdom, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Japan Box Office: 'Lucy' Opens in Third as 'Doraemon' Stays Top
Tokyo – Stand by Me Doraemon spent its fourth weekend atop the box office, with manga adaptation Lupin III bowing in second with $4.3 million (￥444 million), while Luc Besson's Lucy opened with $1.9 million (￥200 million) from 205 screens. Stand by Me Doraemon, the first film in the long-running series to use 3D CG, has now taken $55.6 million (￥5.8 billion). The series of adventures of a "cat-type robot" from the future, based on a massively popular manga, overtook Godzilla last year to become the most watched in Japanese cinema history, with more
- Gavin J. Blair
'Olive Kitteridge': Venice Review
Venice – Hollywood studios are no longer in the business of making minor-key contemplations of life, marriage and family like Olive Kitteridge, which turns out to be an excellent thing for Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2008 novel. While not all the book’s 13 interconnected stories and throng of characters are covered, the tone is captured and the essential elements given ample breathing space in this emotionally satisfying, funny-sad four-part HBO miniseries. Produced by Tom Hanks’ Playtone banner, it’s directed with an impeccable balance of sensitivity and humor by Lisa Cholodenko and expertly adapted by Jane Anderson.
- David Rooney
James Brown Biopic ‘Get On Up’ to Open Zurich
Taylor and Chadwick Boseman, who plays the singer, will be in Zurich to attend the premiere.
Taylor previously attended the fest with “The Help,” which was the closing film in 2011.
- Leo Barraclough
'X Factor' U.K. Loses Steam Ahead of BBC Clash
After a stronger season launch on Saturday night, Simon Cowell's The X Factor U.K. on ITV on Sunday lost ratings steam ahead of a key showdown with BBC ballroom dance hit Strictly Come Dancing. Sunday night's second episode of the 11th season of X Factor averaged 8.2 million viewers, down by 1.7 million from the year-ago episode, according to overnight data. It was also down from the audience of 9.5 million viewers on Saturday, which ranked as the show's best season debut since 2011 amid Cowell's return as a judge. Some say the boost may
- Georg Szalai
Soccer Kicks Hong Kong Box Office Into Summer Slump
Hong Kong — Theatrical box in Hong Kong took a summer snooze.
Revenues fell 19% to Hk$312 million (Us$40.2 million) in the 1 July to 31 Aug. period according to data suppliers, Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association and the Hong Kong Theatres Association.
While that slump matches — and slightly exceeds — the summer blues encountered at the North American box office, the soccer World Cup was the biggest single factor in Hong Kong according to the Mpia and Hkta. Many spectators instead tuned in to the football available on TV and in bars and clubs.
For the year to date, Hong Kong’s box office remains slightly ahead of last year. The data shows gross theatrical revenue in the territory at Hk$1.168 billion (Us$150 million), 2% up on the Hk$1.150 billion (Us$148 million) in the first eight months of last year.
Seven of the top ten places in the summer period went to English-language movies, »
- Patrick Frater
Venice Film Festival Diary: 'Black Souls,' "Heaven Knows What,' "Goodnight Mommy'
The dark days of Venice continue. It’s not easy starting your morning with a film called “Black Souls” but someone has to do it. Italian director Francisco Munzi’s tale of a Calabrian family embroiled in the mafia gave me a stomach ache, partly because of the sense of dread it successfully exported from the opening shot, and partly because it never quite achieves what it seems to be going for. Luigi and Rocco Carbone are two middle-aged brothers running a mob business in Milan. Luigi (Marco Leonardi) is your typically good-looking, fun-loving tough guy, a sort of Calabrian Sonny Corleone. The lean, bespectacled Rocco (Peppino Mazzotta) runs the business side and aspires to normality and respectability, with a pretty northern wife (Barbora Bobulova) and young daughter. The odd man out is their elder brother Luciano (Fabrizio Ferracane), who has remained on the Calabrian hilltop farm, raising goats, and »
- Tom Christie
Yellow Bird Execs Launch Scandi Shingle Good Company Films
Paris– As Scandinavia’s film and TV industry gets more competitive and continues to consolidate, four topnotch Scandi producers have joined forces to launch Copenhagen-based shingle, Good Company Films.
Led by Vibeke Windelov, Stinna Lassen, Anni Fernandez and Ole Sondberg, “Good Company Films” will deliver fiction TV and films for the Danish and international markets, developing talent and content for new distribution platforms.
The company’s first slate includes an adaptation of Lene Kaaberbol’s popular fantasy novels, a psychological thriller directed by up-and-comer Milad Alami and a political mini series based on real events.
“Scandinavian film has during the past years enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, and it is our mission to continue strengthening this position. For us this means working closely with creatives, investing in new talent and focusing on developing first class content for future distribution platforms,” said the producers in a joint statement.
Sondberg and »
- Elsa Keslassy
Stars Respond to Leaked Photo Hacking Scandal
In response to what has been described as the biggest celebrity hacking scandal in history, Hollywood stars who have seen private photos of themselves leaked online have turned to social media to express their outrage. Over 100 mostly female celebrities featured on a list posted Sunday by a user of the website 4chan alongside claims that they had found personal photographs or videos. Since then, images purporting to be of the stars – including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton - have been circulating online, believed to be obtained following an iCloud security leak enabling the hacker to
- Alex Ritman
Steven Spielberg encouraged Tommy Lee Jones during the making of 'The Homesman'
Telluride — I didn't quite know what to say or think about Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" after catching up with it Sunday afternoon, but I was pretty sure I loved it. Gorgeously shot by Rodrigo Prieto, lovingly scored by Marco Beltrami, enigmatically captured by Jones, the film almost becomes a series of vignettes at some point, dealing in western iconography in ways both familiar and foreign, truly a piece of work from the same voice that gave us "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada." It's actress Hilary Swank who is getting the tribute here this year but I think maybe Jones could have dealt with that sort of coronation. He's expert behind the camera and in front of it, he carves out a truly memorable, off-kilter character I'd love to revisit in another story. But I'll just leave it at that for now. It's a strange film that settled, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Where does Laika go after 'The Boxtrolls?'
Beverly Hills — Laika's "The Boxtrolls" saw its world premiere over the weekend at the Venice Film Festival, the third in a line of movies from the Portland-based animation studio that have aimed to push the medium at every step. Directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, the film is, like all Laika product, its own world, a dank, cockney yarn that, as ever, serves as a showcase for the company's craft prowess. I recently sat down with Stacchi, Annable and Laika CEO Travis Knight to discuss adapting Alan Snow's mammoth book "Here Be Monsters!," the use of increasingly sophisticated computer tools to aid stop motion animation and the vision for the company going forward. You can read through the back and forth below, and don't forget to check out Catherine Bray's glowing review from the Lido. "The Boxtrolls" opens in theaters Sept. 26. *** HitFix: Anthony, we met briefly at »
- Kristopher Tapley
Venice: Q And A With Saverio Costanzo, Director Of Adam Driver-Starrer ‘Hungry Hearts’
Italian director Saverio Costanzo broke out internationally in 2004 with “Private,” which was set in a Palestinian home in an occupied zone. “Hungry Hearts,” his fourth feature, in competition at Venice and also screening in Toronto, is instead set in New York where Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) fall in love and have a child whom Mina wants to protect from the outside world and its contamination through a nutritional regiment that puts his life in danger. Costanzo spoke about “Hungry Hearts,” a rare case of an Italian pic with a New York indie feel, with Variety’s Nick Vivarelli.
Q:The book is set in Italy, why did you transpose it to the Upper West Side?
A: It seemed impossible for me to set it in Italy. Italian cities are not as violent, but also not as powerful as New York. And the whole food disorder issue: ‘where »
- Nick Vivarelli
Korea Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Reaches 7 Million Despite Hollywood comeback
Seoul- With just a few days left until the long Korean Thanksgiving weekend, period actioner “The Pirates” held on to its number one position at the Korean box office, despite competition from several mid-sized Hollywood releases.
Including holdovers, U.S. productions accounted for seven of the top ten titles.
“Into the Storm” (pictured), which opened on Aug. 28, took second place, and pushed out “Roaring Currents,” the epic maritime battle picture which is now the most watched film in Korean history and has grossed Us$129 million.
“Into the Storm” scored Us$4.80 million (KRW4.84 billion) and accounted for 25% of the overall market. That was just short of “Pirates” which managed Us$4.81 million (KRW4.89 billion) on the week and reached a cumulative total of Us$53.2 million (Krw 53.9 billion). There were cast and crew celebrations as the film passed 7 million ticket sales.
“Begin Again” continued to do well, jumping one place to fourth place »
- Nemo Kim
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