5 items from 2017
Anne Thompson: Over the past decade, the studios have become accustomed to booking release dates before they even have a final script. This creates a rushed urgency to move forward, even when a movie is far from ready. Catherine Hardwicke, after the first “Twilight” had soared to the highest opening ever for a female filmmaker, wasn’t immediately ready to throw herself back into the fray with the second “Twilight.” She wanted more time to nurture the follow-up. So Summit Entertainment left her behind. And the end result a year later, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” directed by Chris Weitz, was arguably the weakest of the franchise.
Examples abound, but clearly Universal is in a »
- Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson and Kate Erbland
Fund earmarks €10m in grants.
Roma Lazio Film Commission head Luciano Sovena and governor of Lazio region Nicola Zingaretti, have announced the first results of the 2016 Lazio Cinema International Call.
Grants of $11.2m (€10m) divided in two calls will be presented to Italian productions equipped with an international coproduction partner.
“The first of the two calls announced last year, now closed, has seen 18 co-productions admitted for evaluation,” Zingaretti said. “That is already a dramatic improvement from the previous year which counted 16 co-productions in total.”
Promotion of the territory is critical to the region. Sovena said any mention of the location earns a bonus grant. “If the movie explicitly tells the audience where the story is set, either with a line of dialogue or a line of text, they can get 5% more in financing.”
TV series such as I Medici and films like upcoming biopic Nico, 1988 were among the winners of the 2015 edition.
Encouraged by the »
We didn’t see much of him on screens last year, but Oscar Isaac has been quite busy. This year, we’ll see him in the next Star Wars film, along with the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon, as well as alongside Christian Bale in The Promise next month, not to mention next year in Alex Garland’s Annihilation next year. He’s now found his next role, according to Deadline.
The Inside Llewyn Davis star is set to lead the WWII drama Operation Finale, which will be directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Twilight Saga: New Moon). Described as a drama akin to Argo and Munich, it will follow his character as an Israeli spy named Peter Malkin, who hunts down the Nazi general Adolf Eichmann, as scripted by Matthew Orton. Production is expected to begin this fall in Argentina, so we could see it by next year. »
- Mike Mazzanti
One of the primary architects of the Holocaust, Eichman helped in planning and executing the mass deportation of Jews in Eastern Europe to the ghettos and concentration camps. He went into hiding after WWII in Argentina, where he was found and brought to justice by Mossad.
Isaac will be joining the cast as Peter Malkin, the operative who made headlines for wrestling and capturing Eichmann in May 1960. Chris Weitz, who worked on early drafts of “Star Wars: Rogue One” and directed “About A Boy” and “Twilight Saga: New Moon,” will be behind the camera, and The Hollywood Reporter notes the film has been envisioned in the »
- Zack Sharf
Turns out Belle’s life is anything but provincial. The Emma Watson-led “Beauty and the Beast” opened huge this past weekend, earning $170 million in North America and $350 million globally. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic also shattered a bunch of box office records, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Besting last year’s “Finding Dory,” “Beauty and the Beast” is now the PG-rated film with the highest domestic and international opening. It also displaced the final “Harry Potter” film (another Watson project) to become the seventh largest opening of all time. It’s the United States’ highest-earning film since “Captain America: Civil War’s” debut last May. And “Beauty and the Beast” set a new record for Disney, becoming the studio’s best domestic opening since “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010.
The film’s biggest coup is that it set a new high for a “female-fueled film,” as THR phrases it. “‘Beauty’ once again underscores the buying power of women and girls,” the source details. “On Friday, more than 70 percent of ticket buyers were females, although that percentage evened out over the weekend to 60 percent, according to Disney. Either way, no movie fueled at this level by femmes of all ages has ever opened to such big numbers. By way of comparison, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ debuted to $158.1 million in November 2014, while ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ took in $142 million in November 2009 for a series-best mark for each.”
Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told THR, “There were a combination of factors that made this a recipe for success. There was a nostalgia for the original and the Disney brand. Plus, there is an iconic soundtrack with old and new songs. Emma Watson was perfectly cast as Belle.”
“Beauty and the Beast” still has markets to mine. As Deadline reports, the film has upcoming debuts in France and Australia this week, and will be opening in Japan April 21.
For now, the Bill Condon-directed film is exceeding box office trackers’ predictions and is generating positive word-of-mouth from audiences. “Beauty and the Beast” earned an A CinemaScore from viewers. “Nearly half the audience were adults and teens, a startling stat for a PG family title,” THR notes. “The remainder were parents and kids.”
IMAX screenings of the film were also a win for “Beauty.” From IMAX alone, it earned $12.5 million in North America and $21 million worldwide, besting last year’s “Jungle Book” ($18 million) for the top PG title, THR summarizes.
We couldn’t be happier about this news. We knew that “Beauty and the Beast” would be big: The aforementioned box office predictions and trailer numbers made that clear a long while ago. But this women-centric film’s huge opening is a boon for women’s stories and feminism at the movies. Because audiences didn’t flock to theaters just for nostalgia’s sake — they flocked to it because Belle is a hero for all of us. As our own Melissa Silverstein put it, “This movie is for boys and girls and men and women. It’s for everyone. That’s the power of women’s stories. They are universal and relatable.”
“Beauty and the Beast” Wins U.S. and Global Box Office and Smashes Records was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
5 items from 2017
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