10 items from 2017
Rory Bruer is retiring as head of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures after four decades at the studio.
Sony does not plan to directly replace him. Bruer, who has deep ties with theater owners, will segue into an advisory role at the studio. Adrian Smith and Steven O’Dell will handle domestic and international distribution, respectively. They will report directly to Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution.
“Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long — so when they asked me to stay on as an advisor, I jumped at the chance,” Bruer wrote in a letter to staff. “Not everybody gets to begin this next chapter on their own terms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Bruer first »
- Brent Lang
Marketing, publicity executives report to Tom Ortenberg.
Schwartz and Biber will report directly to Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg, who made the announcement on Tuesday.
Open Road marketed and distributed Armenian Genocide drama The Promise at the weekend on behalf of Survival Pictures. The film reportedly cost more than $90m and opened on $4.1m in 2,251 theatres.
Schwartz is Open Road’s third marketing chief in 14 months. He replaces Jonathan Helfgot, who only took the place of Jason Cassidy in March 2016 and is understood to be joining Fox as head of theatrical marketing.
Biber has been head of publicity since the company’s inception in 2011.
Schwartz most recently served as executive vice-president of genre marketing and advertising at Warner Bros.
Prior to that, he was senior vice-president of creative advertising at Columbia Pictures, where he worked »
Schwartz will report directly to Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg, who also made the announcement Tuesday.
Helfgot came on board slightly over a year ago, replacing Jason Cassidy in the post. That shuffle came a month after Open Road’s “Spotlight” had won best picture at the Academy Awards.
Helfgot is returning to 20th Century Fox, where he will be exec VP of theatrical marketing and report to Pam Levine, president of global marketing. He previously worked at Fox in a number of roles from 2004 to 2011.
Open Road also announced that Liz Biber has been promoted to president of publicity and will continue to report to Ortenberg. Biber has been head of publicity since the company’s inception in 2011.
Schwartz was previously executive VP of marketing at Screen Gems »
- Dave McNary
Christian movies: Starring Nicolas Cage, the widely panned 2014 apocalyptic thriller 'Left Behind' was a box office bomb – unlike (relatively) recent popular 'faith movies' such as 'Heaven Is for Real,' 'Son of God' and 'War Room.' A thought on the New Christian American Cinema: Tired of the blatant propaganda found in 'mainstream' Christian movies Two films that might be called “Christian movies” opened last week, and I decided that I wouldn't watch them, write about them, or review them – at least directly. I'm not even going to mention their titles here because I don't promote propaganda films, and that's what this recent advent of Christian movies has become: propaganda. After all, since nearly all American cinema is Christian cinema, the New Christian American Cinema is in fact pure propaganda – not cinema. Worse yet, it bores me. So, here's the thing about what we've come to call »
- Tim Cogshell
‘The Discovery’ Hides Purgatory Behind a Promising PremiseWhy prove there’s an afterlife if you don’t engage with it?
Sometimes you hear a premise that’s worth seeing through even if you know the film can’t possibly live up to it. Netflix’s The Discovery, the second film by writer/director Charlie McDowell, is one of those. Science has proven, beyond doubt, that we exist beyond life. Brainwaves have been measured and in some peer-reviewed sense, the afterlife exists. The only problem is — if it’s even a problem at all — the suicide rate has skyrocketed. People have some certainty so they’re getting out while the getting’s good. What’s on the other side, what they’re escaping the pain and suffering of this mortal coil into, well, that’s something the scientists haven’t quite gotten to yet.
McDowell’s debut film The One I Love has a similarly tantalizing premise that »
- Jacob Oller
The first time I spoke out loud to anyone about The Vampire Diaries, I thought they were talking about Twilight.
RelatedVampire Diaries Series Finale Recap: Heaven Is for Real — Grade That Ending
The year was 2009. The show was just six episodes into its first season, and I was only a few days into my first real entertainment reporting job since graduating college.
“Should we do something about this vampire show?” my boss asked, to which I honestly replied, “Do you mean Twilight? That’s a movie.” (For the record, I wish I could return to this exact moment in time »
If you’re a die-hard fan of The Vampire Diaries, there’s a good chance your brain is exhausted right now.
Friday’s last hurrah went full throttle for an entire hour, throwing endless twists — some wonderful, others devastating — at confused fans, leaving a lot up to interpretation. And while we’ve already shared insight into Stefan’s death and Klaus’ letter, there’s always more to be mined.
RelatedVampire Diaries Boss Breaks Down the Series Finale’s Originals Moment: ‘There Are More Stories to Be Told’
Because everyone »
The lagging 2017 box office got a big boost as “Logan” (20th Century Fox), starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine — the first of three anticipated March juggernauts — opened like a summer franchise blockbuster. The offshoot from the “Wolverine” subset of X-Men movies marks the first R-rating for the storied franchise.
Even better, it wasn’t the only upbeat news this post-Oscars weekend. Hitchcockian thriller “Get Out” (Universal), the Blumhouse sleeper from Jordan Peele, dropped only 22 per cent on its second weekend, which is stunning.
And Lionsgate, fresh off eight wins from “La La Land” and “Hacksaw Ridge” on Oscar night, returned with the surprisingly strong faith-based “The Shack,” starring “Hidden Figures” Oscar-nominee and Saturday Night Live host Octavia Spencer.
The post-Oscar results were mixed to positive, as two of the top category winners are already available for home viewing. “Moonlight” (streaming and available on DVD/Blu-Ray) had both the widest break »
- Tom Brueggemann
Margaret Qualley appears in Novitiate by Maggie Betts, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Mark Levine.
Without wanting to go full “war on Christmas” here, I don’t think it would a stretch to say the cinematic landscape is not particularly bountiful with serious explorations of the Christian faith. It mostly falls into the range between reductive family dramas like Heaven is For Real, near-faithless epics like Exodus: Gods and Kings, or flippant dismissals of the whole scene like Sausage Party. I wasn’t particularly certain Sundance would be the place to go for an earnest depiction, but I wandered into this Vatican II-era nun drama nonetheless, hoping for some spark of honest engagement. I got a good deal more than a spark in return.
Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), despite having not been raised Catholic, decides at age 17 to become a nun. »
- Scott Nye
An A-list voice cast is lending talents to Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star. Executive produced by DeVon Franklin, who is known for the faith-based films Heaven Is For Real and Miracles From Heaven along with Lisa and Brian Henson, The Star now has its own stars saddling up on the film: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Tracy Moran, Kris Kristofferson, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Clarkson, Gabriel Iglesias, Ving Rhames and Gina Rodriguez, as well as Steven Yeun who plays the… »
10 items from 2017
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