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When the first Passengers trailer came out, it presented the movie as a thriller akin to Gravity. But a new look at the film seems to be riffing on some other films in the Sandra Bullock canon. It’s While You Were Sleeping...in space! Or Two Weeks Notice...in space! Or some other rom com...in space! Gone are the shots of our two dashing leads in peril, replaced by images of them frolicking around having a grand old time on a spaceship. They watch a movie. They go swimming. They have dinner. They have sex. They dance in a goofy fashion. Then they venture out into the great unknown in suits, possibly on a suicide mission. Who knows?
This is all scored to a treacly original song from Imagine Dragons, “Levitate,” about how she’s his shooting star because, you know, they are flying among those balls of »
- Esther Zuckerman
Casting directors have a strange distinction in the awards world: Their guild has an Academy branch, but it’s the only one without its own Oscar category. Imagine for a moment that they did. What are the best-cast films of 2016?
IndieWire asked 13 of the top casting directors to nominate films worthy of casting recognition this year. There were a few restrictions worth noting. Although casting directors often get early sneak peeks at films, many noted there are some films they still hadn’t seen. In particular, many are anxious to find out what legendary casting director Ellen Lewis has cooked up for Martin Scorsese’s “Silence.” The other restriction, which was imposed as responses came in: They couldn’t all write about “Moonlight.” (We’ll dig further into the casting of that film in another article.)
Read More: Casting Directors and the Academy: Why Lynn Stalmaster’s Honorary Oscar Matters »
- Chris O'Falt
On Saturday, he mingled with fans ahead of the China release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” On Sunday, he was unveiled as the producer of “Warriors,” a film project that is one of the first major pieces of foreign intellectual property that China’s Alibaba Pictures Group will develop and produce from scratch. The film will be based on a series of books, written by a collective of authors under the pseudonym Erin Hunter, about clans of forest-dwelling cats.
Heyman spoke with Variety of commonalities between J.K. Rowling’s books and “Warriors” — particularly the recurring theme of characters as outsiders — as he sets about trying to adapt the complex series of novels.
Variety: How was your experience meeting the Chinese public for “Fantastic Beasts”?
David Heyman: It »
- Patrick Frater
Since Alfonso Cuarón’s eye-popping Gravity lit up theaters three years ago, moviegoers have been treated to a steady rollout of big-budget and cerebral sci-fi movies that spanned Interstellar and last year’s The Martian. In 2016, we’re about to welcome not one, but two new additions to the pack in Arrival and Passengers, Morten Tyldum’s star-studded adventure that mixes romance, spectacle and a story that’s housing a devastating twist.
It’s one that involves Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence) who, along with 5,000 fellow passengers, embark on a painstaking journey to Homestead II. Housed up in sleep chambers deep within the bowels of the Starship Avalon, a technical malfunction forces Jim and Aurora out of stasis a full 90 years ahead of schedule, though it doesn’t take long before our lovestruck duo realize that their crude awakening wasn’t a technical malfunction after all. »
- Michael Briers
China’s Alibaba Pictures has brought on board the UK’s David Heyman to produce fantasy adventure Warriors, based on a series of children’s novels about warring cats.
Alibaba reached an agreement to adapt the series with UK-based fiction packager Working Partners and its parent company Coolabi Group at the 68th Frankfurt Book Fair last month.
The series, about four clans of warring feral cats, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Alibaba plans to develop Warriors into a live-action tentpole for worldwide audiences.
“Alibaba Pictures is very pleased to make the Warriors movie with David Heyman. We will develop Warriors into a world-class fantasy film for audiences and fans,” said Alibaba Pictures president Zhang Wei.
In addition to the $7.7bn Harry Potter franchise, Heyman also produced Gravity, Testament Of Youth, Paddington and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which like the Harry Potter series is based on a J.K. Rowling novel. »
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
Beijing — “Harry Potter” producer, David Heyman is to produce “Warriors” for China’s Alibaba Pictures Group. The live action film is based on a series of hit children’s/young adult novels about warring cats.
Heyman’s involvement in the project was announced Sunday at an event held at the British Embassy in Beijing, China.
Published by Harper Collins from 2003 onwards, “Warriors” features several clans of forest-dwelling cats. The stories involve themes of adventure, forbidden love, nature versus nurture, and faith. They were written by three authors — Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui Sutherland — and an editor (Victoria Holmes) collectively working under the pseudonym Erin Hunter.
“Alibaba represents quality and the best values. When I first came to China a few years ago, I sought them out,” said Heyman. “What we discovered is that Alibaba is interested in telling stories that are universally relatable.”
“‘Warriors’ is such a perfect Chinese-British project. »
- Patrick Frater
Faced with the reality of a Trump presidency, the Academy is doubling down on its Diversity Initiative. Already, the film industry is supplying more than the usual number of Oscar contenders boasting women and people of color, including the crafts.
Will voters be in the mood to send a post-Election inclusion message? You bet. The biggest impact could occur in the cinematography race, where only one person of African descent has ever been nominated (British-born Remi Adefarasin for “Elizabeth”), and no women. Cinematographer James Wong Howe, nominated seven times, won two Oscars, and Peter Pau one (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), while 10 other Asians have been nominated in that category. The last four cinematography winners are Latino, including Claudio Miranda (“Life of Pi”) and three-time winner Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity,” “Birdman,” “The Revenant”).
- Bill Desowitz
Image via Warner Bros.
The whole world seemed to give a collective sigh of both sadness and relief when J.K. Rowling penned her last line in the Harry Potter series. That sigh was repeated four years later in 2011 when the last Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, hit theaters. They were both ends of eras, and for many fans, marked the end of a childhood journey.
However, despite any sadness we may have had, many of us knew that Warner Bros. would be revisiting this world somehow. We didn’t know when or in what capacity, but it was too big of a cash cow to let it simply die off without a fight. So how did this film come to be?
Read: The Lrm Interview With Fantastic Beasts Producer David Heyman
Speaking with our very own Edward Douglas, producer David Heyman talked about the »
- Joseph Medina
Producer David Heyman may be competing with a couple others like Spielberg, Lucas and the Broccolis to be considered the most successful movie producer ever, but he’s somehow found that success from his cozy home in England without having too much interference from Hollywood.
Of course, it helps when you’re the producer behind the hugely successful Harry Potter movies that have grossed over $7 billion worldwide, but Heyman had similar success bringing the children’s character Paddington to the screen, as well as shepherding Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi epic Gravity to its $723 million global box office and seven Oscars.
So let’s just say that when Harry Potter author Jk Rowling decides that she’s going to write a screenplay based on her character Newt Scamander and his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it takes a producer like Heyman to make that movie happen… and to »
- Edward Douglas
Matt Damon, while speaking with Et to promote his latest effort as a producer, Manchester by the Sea, revealed the answer to a major question that has been on everyone’s mind since Gary Ross’ Ocean’s Eight was announced: will any of the original cast members from Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven trilogy return?
When asked about his thoughts on Ocean’s Eight, the Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen actor said, “I’m doing a little bit in the movie. I haven’t read it yet, but the cast is phenomenal and I’m excited to see what those women do with it. It’s going to be fun.”
If Damon is briefly reprising his role as Linus Caldwell, it begs the question of which other members of Danny Ocean’s crew might pop up in the film. Surely fans would be excited to see cameos from »
- Justin Cook
With two strong holdovers in “Doctor Strange” and “Trolls,” two strong openers with “Arrival” and “Almost Christmas,” and a boost from the Veteran’s Day holiday, grosses shot up again over last year. Still, success wasn’t across the board. EuropaCorp failed again as a standalone distributor in the U.S. market with “Shut In,” a thriller starring Naomi Watts that couldn’t even hit $4 million.
The Top 10
$43,032,000 (-49%) in 3,882 theaters (unchanged); PTA (per theater average): $11,085; Cumulative: $153,014,000
2. Trolls (20th Century Fox) Week 2; Last weekend #2
$35,050,000 (-25%) in 4,066 theaters (+6); PTA: $8,620; Cumulative: $94,014,000
3. Arrival (Paramount) New – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 81; Est. budget: $40 million
$24,000,000 in 2,317 theaters; PTA: $10,358; Cumulative: $24,000,000
4. Almost Christmas (Universal) New – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 53; Est. budget: $17 million
$15,564,000 in 2,376 theaters; PTA: $6,551; Cumulative: $15,564,000
$10,775,000 (-29%) in 2,961 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,627; Cumulative: $32,264,000
$4,570,000 (-22%) in 2,342 theaters (-346); PTA: $1,951; Cumulative: $77,726,000
7. Shut In »
- Tom Brueggemann
“Arrival,” a brainy sci-fi thriller, scored at the weekend box office, debuting to an impressive $24 million and muscling its way into the awards race. It’s a much-needed win for Paramount, the studio behind the alien invasion tale, as it follows a series of flops such as “Zoolander 2” and “Ben-Hur.” It also proves that audiences will show up for films that are willing to grapple with big ideas and that use spectacle and computer imagery to make larger philosophical points.
Here are five reasons that “Arrival” stuck the landing.
1.) Sci-fi isn’t just for boys
Amy Adams is front and center in “Arrival” as Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist who must figure out a way to communicate with alien visitors in order to find out if they come in peace. It’s a meaty part, one that has earned Adams Oscar buzz. The film also gives Banks a personal tragedy to grapple with that, »
- Brent Lang
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has linked up with media group 360 Degrees Media to launch an Academy Masterclass program at Sheffield Hallam University in Northern England.
The masterclasses will focus on the technical aspects of film-making, and will be led by such Academy members as production sound mixers Simon Hayes, who won an Oscar for “Les Miserables,” and Chris Munro, who won statuettes for “Black Hawk Down” and “Gravity.”
“We are keen to work with our members to reach out to as wide and diverse a cross-section of young people as possible,” said Carola Ash, director of the Academy in Europe. “It makes sense to extend this program, which started in London, now to the North of England. This is one of a number of initiatives across the U.K. as the Academy seeks to execute its educational remit, and these Academy members, many of whom are Oscar winners, »
- Leo Barraclough
Led by the Disney/Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” and “Trolls” (20th Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation), the Top 10 box office continues to be strong. And with three new wide releases, totals could be 20 percent over last year.
Those new films — “Arrival” (Paramount), “Almost Christmas” (Universal), and “Shut In” (EuropaCorp) — won’t top the second-week blockbusters. Even if “Doctor Strange” and “Trolls” each drop 50 percent, they’d gross $42 million and $23 million, respectively. None of the new titles are likely to cross $20 million, though “Arrival” and “Almost Christmas” could come close.
This weekend gets an added boost from Veteran’s Day on Friday, a Federal holiday that gives many school kids the day off. That will boost all grosses, but particularly “Trolls” and also the already well-received “Doctor Strange.”
- Tom Brueggemann
Amy Adams is a miracle worker of an actress – she makes us believe in whoever and whatever she's playing. In Arrival, a mesmerizing mindbender directed with searching mind and heart by the Quebec-born Denis Villeneuve, Adams plays a woman who talks to aliens. Or at least she wants to, desperately. She's not crazy; she's Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics prof who gets called in by the U.S. military, in the person of Forest Whitaker's army colonel, to make contact with the creatures whose oval spaceships hover overhead in rural Montana. »
Emmanuel Lubezki lost the Best Cinematography race at the Oscars five times before winning the last three in a row (“Gravity,” 2013; “Birdman,” 2014; “The Revenant,” 2015). While our Oscar experts drawn from major media are aren’t predicting that he will prevail this year for Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups,” they do think that another perennial als0-ran, Roger Deakins, might finally […] »
Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón’s next project is a ’70s-set drama about a family living in Mexico City, and though that may not be as dramatic as some of his earlier efforts, it sounds like the production has plenty of its own issues. According to The Hollywood Reporter, some sort of fight broke out on the set this week when “city authorities” tried to shut down filming over a permit dispute, though initial reports claimed that the crew had actually been facing off against “a group of armed assailants.”
As it turns out, though, those armed assailants really did work for the Mexico City authorities, and they were reportedly responding to various complaints from neighbors that the production “had altered traffic flow on 20 streets.” The fight that broke out left “at least five crew members injured,” and the police have issued an apology for the “excesses committed” in the ...
- Sam Barsanti
Michael Peña (Ant-Man, The Martian) has officially joined Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time" in the role of Red, completing the remarkable ensemble cast for the upcoming live-action adventure. Principal photography on the film began today in Los Angeles. Peña joins previously announced cast members Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, André Holland, Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard and Will McCormack.
A Wrinkle in Time is directed by Ava DuVernay. It is produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand. Jennifer Lee wrote the screenplay, which is based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel by Madeleine L'Engle. Here's what director Ava DuVernay had to say in her statement about the start of production.
"Since Day One, this experience has shimmered with the promise and possibility, the passion and power that only great stories offer. And Madeline L'Engle's book is a great story indeed. »
This past Tuesday, a group claiming to be local authorities assaulted and robbed crewmembers working on the set of Alfonso Cuarón’s latest production over permit issues. The untitled film is Cuarón’s first to be shot in Mexico since his 2001 drama “Y Tu Mamá También.” Cuarón was not on set at the time of the attack.
In a statement from the production, Espectáculos Fílmicos El Coyúl says that the crew was working with “official permits from the Film Commission of Mexico City” and that the attack was “not a ‘simple fight’ like the authorities have reported.” He goes on to say that the response of the Cuahutémoc District was immediate and positive after they filed the complaint and that it is “alarming that union workers from the Cuahutémoc District will attack and assault »
- Vikram Murthi
Crew members working on the set of Alfonso Cuaron’s untitled period film in Mexico City were assaulted by a group of union workers Tuesday.
The Oscar-winning helmer (“Gravity”) was not on set when the group of men interfered with the shoot’s attempts to close down some streets, removing the street cones despite the crew’s protests that it had the necessary permits to shoot in the neighborhood.
The crew claims that they were also robbed of their personal belongings, but local police authorities have tried to downplay the incident.
Below is the statement issued by the production:
Yesterday, Tuesday, November 1, 2016, while members of our production team were working at the location of José Maria Iglesias Street in the Tabacalera community with official permits from the Film Commission of Mexico City, they were assaulted by workers of the Cuahutémoc District.
It was not a “simple fight” like the authorities have reported, »
- Anna Marie de la Fuente
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