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In the past few years, we’ve seen competing friends-with-benefits romcoms (No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits), Snow White reinterpretations (Mirror Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman), Hercules flicks (The Legend of Hercules and this month’s Hercules), and two versions of The Jungle Book taking form at Disney and Warner Bros. Now, it appears that Hollywood has latched onto the next hot commodity, and it’s… J.R.R. Tolkien?
As odd as that sounds, two biopics about the bestselling author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit are racing to get into theaters. In one corner, Chernin Entertainment is developing Tolkien for Fox Searchlight, and in the other, London- and Brisbane-based Attractive Films is working on a much smaller project called Tolkien & Lewis.
- Isaac Feldberg
The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
After his departure from The Walking Dead and the brief lifespan of Mob City, it’s good to have some positive Frank Darabont news to share, and on the cinematic front, too. He’s jumped from a shortlist of directors to become Universal’s choice to make the follow-up to Snow White And The Huntsman.The 2012 fantasy adventure handily won the box office battle with Mirror Mirror in terms of bringing a live-action Snow White story to the screen. But the next step has been stalled in development for a while. It's been in need of a new director since Hunts-man Rupert Sanders decided to drop out of any sequel. From the sounds of it, early rumours that this will head in a Snow-free direction appear to be panning out, with this now likely to become more a spin-off than a sequel. No script has been set, so Kristen Stewart »
Relativity Media has announced strategic alliances with China’s Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp (Jsbc) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Icbc) and has also been appointed international distribution partner by China Film Promotion International.
Jsbc is making an equity investment in Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media as part of a wider agreement aimed at developing, co-producing, co-financing and distributing films and TV content for both Chinese and international markets.
Relativity Media will also receive equity investment from Chinese media investment firm SeedShine Capital, in a deal brokered by Icbc. Relativity has a strategic advisory agreement with Icbc and is understood to be working with the bank on a Hong Kong stock market listing.
“Relativity has deep and growing ties to China, one of the world’s most dynamic and vibrant film markets, and the partnerships we announced today will further strengthen the robust foundation we have built in China,” said Kavanaugh in a statement.
Under the deal »
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
Relativity Media, a next generation media company, today announced at the Shanghai International Film Festival that it has formed a joint partnership with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. to develop, co-finance, co-produce and distribute film and television content for both the international and Chinese markets. As part of the partnership, Jsbc will make an equity investment in Relativity. Financial terms were not disclosed. As one of the most influential media operators in China, Jsbc is a highly acclaimed multi-media company operating leading television, radio, newspapers, magazines and internet properties. The two companies will develop, produce and distribute new film and television content across Jsbc and Relativity’s platforms. “China is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for every form of content, and Relativity has long been focused on expanding our footprint in this incredibly dynamic market. The partnership with Jsbc we announced today will further strengthen the robust »
Relativity Media is expanding in the booming Chinese media market by forming a joint partnership with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. — with the Chinese multi-media concern making an equity investment in Ryan Kavanaugh’s studio.
The move comes at a time when China’s media businesses have been surging. Chinese box office hit $3.53 billion (RMB21.8 billion) in 2013, compared with RMB17 billion in 2012, according to official government data.
The alliance is aimed at developing, co-financing, co-producing and distributing movies and TV content for both the international and Chinese markets. Financial terms and project details were not disclosed.
“China is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for every form of content, and Relativity has long been focused on expanding our footprint in this incredibly dynamic market,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “The partnership with Jsbc we announced today will further strengthen the robust foundation we have built in China.”
- Dave McNary
UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday May 30th to Sunday June 1st 2014…
Angelina Jolie returned to screens this past weekend as the Mistress of All Evil in Disney’s live-action fairy tale Maleficent, with the film pulling in a solid £6,590,071 (including £2.77 million of Wednesday and Thursday previews) to claim first place in the chart with the fifth biggest debut of the year so far. That’s an improvement on recent fairy tale-inspired movies Snow White and the Huntsman (£3.6 million) and Mirror Mirror (£2.4 million), as well as Disney’s own Oz the Great and Powerful (£3.7 million).
Unlike Maleficent, the week’s two other big releases struggled to make much of an impact, with the Tom Cruise-headlined sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow taking third with £1,886,096 despite strong reviews, and Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West earning £1,240,465 to finish up in fourth. »
- Gary Collinson
In Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty, the evil Maleficent has less than 15 minutes of screen time, making the character’s decade-lasting infamy and the initial interest in a feature-length film of her re-imaging, Maleficent, notably impressive. Of course, the same could be said for the Evil Queen of Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, who’s gotten two recent chances to re-captivate audiences with Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. Judging by Maleficent‘s opening weekend domestic box office numbers, this serpentine queen is number one in fans’ cold dead hearts. Anyone who remembers Maleficent’s fifteen minutes of fame in Sleeping Beauty already knows that Maleficent writer Linda Woolverton took enormous leaps in filling the expansive gaps in Maleficent’s history. However the same can be argued for the writers of Sleeping Beauty as well. The original Disney film was based on both the original fairy tale “La Belle au Bois Dormant (The »
- Emily Estep
Your Top Three is a series here at Movies.com where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks. The very existence of the new movie Maleficent indicates that the title character is a favorite of all the Disney villains. The self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil is now only the second of her kind to be portrayed in a live-action version made officially by the same studio -- the other being Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians (there's also the non-Disney movies Hook and Mirror Mirror, which don't count). Of course, she's also the leader of the baddie characters in the Disney Villains merchandising. If Maleficent is successul this weekend, perhaps the Mouse House will green light some other pictures headed by the baddies of Disney's...
- Christopher Campbell
The trailers teased glimpses of Sleeping Beauty's iconic villainess, accompanied by a gothic cover of "Once Upon a Dream." Gone were the 1959 animated film's Technicolor wonders, replaced with shades of blacks and blues, while Lana del Rey's vocals enveloped Mary Costa and Bill Shirley's airy duet with jazz-club smokiness. Even when the sneak peek appeared to throw a bone of sympathy towards the titular evil character, it brooded with the faux-angst of 9th grade poetry. This was what you could expect from Maleficent — Disney's early bid for summer-film dominance, »
Bean will play a reclusive local fish peddler who hires Maud Dowley — a tiny disabled woman – to be his housekeeper for his small home. The story, set in the 1950s and 1960s, follows their romance as she becomes a well-known folk artist whose paintings hang in The White House.
Mongrel Intl., the new acquisition division of Canadian shingle Mongrel Media, is handling worldwide sales rights to the period romancer at this year’s Cannes Film Market. “Maudie,” a Canadian-Irish co-production, marks the first pickup for Mongrel Intl.
- Dave McNary
The Disney marketing wagon has been in town over the last few days, with Kensington Palace playing host to a lavish premiere (see our interviews with the cast here) and today the UK Press Conference took place in Central London.
When the film was announced, along with the casting of Angelina Jolie in the role of one the studio’s most iconic villains, it seemed a match made it heaven. As we’ve seen with Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror we are retelling fairy tales with the darkness inherent in them pushed to the fore. Maleficent may open up the world familiar to millions as that of Sleeping Beauty but there’s certain to be a rough ride on the journey to that stone heart our titular character obtains.
Below are our videos for each question. The film opens here on the 28th of May.
On Finding »
- Jon Lyus
Brett Ratner has acquired movie rights to the story of Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig’s escape from Cuba.
Ratner acquired the feature rights through his RatPac Entertainment to Jesse Katz’ article, published in the May issue of Los Angeles Magazine.
He will produce the project with Beau Flynn, who will produce through his FlynnPictureCo. banner.
Puig signed a 7-year $42 million deal with the Dodgers in 2012 after defecting from Cuba. He was a key factor in the team making the National League playoffs last season, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs in 104 games.
Puig attempted to escape from Cuba several times before succeeding in 2012 with the help of smugglers working for the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel who took him to the Yucatan Peninsula.
“He was traveling with three companions: a boxer, a pinup girl, and a Santeria priest, the »
- Dave McNary
With Disney's Maleficent hitting theaters next month, we cannot help but think about all our favorite classic movies that have been remade into box office hits. Our leading lady Snow White was remade into Mirror Mirror, the adventurous Alice was recreated and brought to life in the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland and we met a grown up Peter Pan in the adaptation Hook.
We are enjoying the remakes of our Disney adventures, there are a few classics we would not mind seeing be retold. We know there are too many remakes to name, but there are still a few they have yet to tackle. Take a look at the top five Disney classics that we would like to be remade with todays technology:
1. The Little Mermaid. Who does not want to see a mermaid in real life? We know we would love to see the animation of the fish talking to Ariel. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Nicole P.)
Oscar-nominated writer Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club) has come aboard to provide a script polish for Summit Entertainment's supernatural thriller The Last Witch Hunter, which has Vin Diesel attached to star.
Cory Goodman (Priest, Apollo 18) and D.W. Harper (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) previously worked on the script, which focuses on an immortal witch hunter (Vin Diesel) who teams up with one of his enemies, a female witch, to stop a New York City coven from unleashing a deadly plague on humanity.
Breck Eisner (The Crazies) is directing, with Mark Canton, Vin Diesel and Bernie Goldmann producing. Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi and Eric Reid are serving as executive producers. It isn't known when production will begin, although star Vin Diesel revealed some pre-production artwork on his Facebook page last month.
Summit Entertainment has enlisted Melisa Wallack to come aboard The Last Witch Hunter. Wallack is an Academy Award-nominated scribe who has penned Dallas Buyers Club, Mirror Mirror and Meet Bill. Cory Goodman penned the original script for the supernatural thriller which was then rewritten by D.W. Harper. Vin Diesel remains attached to star and Breck Eisner (The Crazies) will direct.
- Ryan Turek
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