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The Under-$50 Million Movie Is Endangered. Three Distributors are Fighting to Save It.

The Under-$50 Million Movie Is Endangered. Three Distributors are Fighting to Save It.
As studios double down on franchises, sequels, comic books, and events that pull audiences into bigger-better-brighter cinemas, movies that cost less than $50 million look like an endangered species. Studios already find it tough to justify risky, original dramas — like F. Gary Gray’s “Straight Outta Compton,” which cost $28 million and grossed $206 million worldwide. Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley nurtured that movie, and fought to make it. But not every movie has such a passionate champion.

“Tons of projects never even get to the greenlight meeting,” said one senior studio executive. “We can’t make the P&L work. The physical business [DVD sales] is declining at a rate of 10-11 percent. The digital business is not growing enough to offset physical declines. And the growth of the international box office doesn’t translate to ancillaries.”

That’s when a producer who can’t get a studio movie made — like “Bird Box,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Under-$50 Million Movie Is Endangered. Three Distributors are Fighting to Save It.

The Under-$50 Million Movie Is Endangered. Three Distributors are Fighting to Save It.
As studios double down on franchises, sequels, comic books, and events that pull audiences into bigger-better-brighter cinemas, movies that cost less than $50 million look like an endangered species. Studios already find it tough to justify risky, original dramas — like F. Gary Gray’s “Straight Outta Compton,” which cost $28 million and grossed $206 million worldwide. Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley nurtured that movie, and fought to make it. But not every movie has such a passionate champion.

“Tons of projects never even get to the greenlight meeting,” said one senior studio executive. “We can’t make the P&L work. The physical business [DVD sales] is declining at a rate of 10-11 percent. The digital business is not growing enough to offset physical declines. And the growth of the international box office doesn’t translate to ancillaries.”

That’s when a producer who can’t get a studio movie made — like “Bird Box,
See full article at Indiewire »

Box Office: ‘Shazam!’ Heads Toward $45 Million-Plus Opening Weekend

  • Variety
The domestic box office may be off to a sluggish start this year, but two genres have proven to be consistent winners: superheroes and horror.

If that trend continues, movie theaters in North America might get a much-needed boost this weekend as Warner Bros.’ comic-book adventure “Shazam!” and Paramount Pictures’ remake of “Pet Sematary” open nationwide. The two titles are debuting alongside Stx’s drama “The Best of Enemies.”

“Shazam!” looks to be the big winner among newcomers. It’s expected to make between $45 million and $50 million when it debuts in 4,260 North American venues. Early tracking suggested the comic-book adaptation could launch with $40 million, but positive word-of-mouth has industry analysts more optimistic about one of DC’s youngest warriors.

“Shazam!” — described as “Big” set in the comic-book world — centers on Billy Baston (Asher Angel), a teenager who transforms into a bubble-gum-snapping superhero (Zachary Levi) when someone says the magic word.
See full article at Variety »

Matthew McConaughey Hit With Career Worst Box Office Opening With ‘The Beach Bum’

  • The Wrap
Matthew McConaughey Hit With Career Worst Box Office Opening With ‘The Beach Bum’
It was not “all right, all right, all right” for Matthew McConaughey at the box office this weekend, as his latest film “The Beach Bum” suffered the weakest wide opening of the Oscar winner’s career.

Released by Neon on 1,100 screens and directed by Harmony Korine, the nearly plot-free stoner comedy only grossed $1.8 million, ranking 10th among all films this weekend. By comparison, Korine’s previous film, 2012’s “Spring Breakers,” opened to $4.8 million from 1,104 screens, while McConaughey’s previous low for wide releases was the 2017 film “Gold,” which opened to $3.4 million from 2,166 screens.

Even one of McConaughey’s more limited openings had a bigger launch than “Beach Bum.” Back in 2013, the actor starred in the Jeff Nichols drama “Mud,” which earned $2.2 million in its opening on 363 screens.

The Beach Bum” premiered earlier this month at SXSW, but critics were mixed on the film’s humor and seemingly lack of a cohesive narrative.
See full article at The Wrap »

Debate rages at Cph:dox about the future of the documentary market

Debate rages at Cph:dox about the future of the documentary market
Simon Chinn, Viktor Kossakovsky, Eve Gabereau voice opinions.

This year’s industry activity at documentary festival Cph:dox, which took place in Danish capital Copenhagen this week, was dominated by one question: will traditional documentary business models survive in the face of increased disruption from online platforms?

There’s no doubt that the last 12 months have been a boom time for the documentary space. Films such as Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Free Solo, Three Identical Strangers, They Shall Not Grow Old and McQueen have delivered big audiences, sparking increased belief in the factual medium as a big screen proposition.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Toni Collette, Damian Lewis to Star in Welsh Racehorse Drama ‘Dream Horse’

  • Variety
Toni Collette, Damian Lewis to Star in Welsh Racehorse Drama ‘Dream Horse’
Toni Collette (“Hereditary”) is set to star as Jan, a woman who starts a racing syndicate in her small Welsh village and attempts to raise a champion racehorse, in “Dream Horse.” Damian Lewis (“Billions”) has also been cast in the film and will play the local accountant who joins the impromptu syndicate.

Euros Lyn (“Black Mirror”) will direct. Neil McKay has adapted the story, which is based on real events, for the big screen.

The real-life drama was previously the subject of Louise Osmond’s documentary “Dark Horse,” which, like “Dream Horse,” was backed by Film4. “Three Identical Strangers” producer Raw is making the film. Warner Bros. has pre-bought the U.K. distribution rights. Cornerstone Films will handle sales elsewhere.

Ingenious Media and Ffilm Cymru Wales are also backing the movie.

“I grew up in the Welsh valleys where everyone knows this story – it’s a local legend,” Lyn said.
See full article at Variety »

Oscar-Winning Doc ‘Free Solo’ Climbs Aboard Hulu Today

Oscar-Winning Doc ‘Free Solo’ Climbs Aboard Hulu Today
Free Solo, the Oscar-winning Best Doc Feature about soloist climber Alex Honnold, will begin streaming today on Hulu, the streamer announced.

Free Solo is a true masterpiece that combines awe-inspiring camerawork with the kind of authentic storytelling that Hulu viewers love,” said Lisa Holme, VP Content Acquisition at Hulu. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with our friends at National Geographic Documentary Films to add this extraordinary film to the growing slate of award-winning documentaries available on Hulu.”

The film, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and filmed by photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, Free Solo chronicles Honnold as he prepares to climb – sans rope – El Capitan, the 3,200-foot peak in Yosemite National Park.

The doc debuted at the Telluride Film Festival and has since played at more than 30 film festivals around the world. Hulu says Free Solo is the second highest-grossing documentary of 2018 in the U.S. In addition to the Oscar,
See full article at Deadline »

Toni Collette & Damian Lewis To Star In ‘Dream Horse’ For Raw, Film4; Warner Bros UK, Cornerstone Also In The Saddle

  • Deadline
Toni Collette & Damian Lewis To Star In ‘Dream Horse’ For Raw, Film4; Warner Bros UK, Cornerstone Also In The Saddle
Exclusive: Hereditary star Toni Collette and Billions star Damian Lewis are to lead cast in UK race horse feature Dream Horse for American Animals and Three Identical Strangers outfit Raw.

Euros Lyn, director on Sherlock, Happy Valley and Black Mirror, is helming the true story about a woman’s dream to breed and raise a champion racehorse on the allotment of her modest Welsh village. Little Miss Sunshine star Collette will take the lead role of Jan Vokes, a middle-aged barmaid at a working men’s club who recruits her initially reluctant husband Brian and local accountant Howard Davies (Lewis) to help her bring together a syndicate of local people to breed a foal – which they name Dream Alliance. On the racetrack, he proves himself to be more than a match for the multi-million pound racehorses he comes up against, transforming the lives of those around him.

Script comes from
See full article at Deadline »

Channel 4 Boss Alex Mahon On Originating ‘Leaving Neverland’, High-End Doc Push & Complexity Of Negotiating With Netflix – Intv

Channel 4 is to step up its high-end documentary push as controversial Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland is on track to become its most streamed or downloaded title.

The British broadcaster has had success with its recent doc slate including Three Identical Strangers, 100 Vaginas and Leaving Neverland. CEO Mahon revealed that the latter has had millions of views online since its premiere last week and that young viewers were a large portion of the audience.

She said that the Amos Pictures-produced doc, which tells the story of two boys, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, now in their 30s, who say they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were ages 7 and 10, originated at C4 as an hour-doc but that director Dan Reed had enough material for a four-hour series and that’s when it brought HBO on board.

Ex-Shine boss Mahon said that the series has changed Jackson’s
See full article at Deadline »

New to Streaming: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,’ ‘To Sleep with Anger,’ ‘O.G.,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’re highlighting the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and an archive of past round-ups here.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

The phrase “important film” covers all manner of cinematic sins. If a narrative speaks to a specific issue or disenfranchisement, it can make critique a little complicated. Thankfully, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind plays more like entertainment than education while teaching its viewer something all the same. Written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, adapted from the book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, the film’s set in Wimbe, a village in the Southeast African country of Malawi. It concerns the life of a family trying their best to survive both extreme weather and a government that will offer no help.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Bing Liu, Morgan Neville, Rashida Jones & More Discuss Political Documentaries And Ethical Responsibilities

As we continue to collectively grumble about “Green Book” and, simultaneously, thank the Academy Gods for giving us Spike Lee, unfiltered after six champagnes, The Hollywood Reporter has released their final award season roundtable, this week focusing on the documentary filmmakers including Academy Award winner Chai Vasarhelyi (“Free Solo”), in addition to Morgan Neville (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”), Julie Cohen (“Rbg”), Tim Wardle (“Three Identical Strangers”), Bing Liu (“Minding the Gap”), and Rashida Jones (“Quincy”).

Continue reading Bing Liu, Morgan Neville, Rashida Jones & More Discuss Political Documentaries And Ethical Responsibilities at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

2019 Mpse Golden Reel Awards: ‘A Quiet Place’ wins over Oscar frontrunner ‘First Man’

“A Quiet Place,” won the top prize, Sound Editing (Effects and Foley), at the Golden Reel Awards bestowed by the Motion Picture Sound Editors (Mpse) on Sunday. One of its Oscar rivals for Best Sound Editing, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” picked up up a pair of awards while another, “Roma,” won one (foreign language). “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” claimed both the animated and music awards.

The Oscar frontrunner in this below-the-line race, “First Man,” was shut out at these awards as was the fifth nominee, “Black Panther.” But fans of “First Man” should not be too disheartened. This guild’s track record at predicting the eventual winner at the Academy Awards is spotty.

Last year, all five of the Oscar nominees for Best Sound Editing numbered among the Mpse contenders. Eventual Oscar winner “Dunkirk” lost the category equivalent to “Blade Runner 2049.” The WWII epic did win for music over the sci-fi film.
See full article at Gold Derby »

How Dogwoof hit the big time with Bafta winner 'Free Solo'

From humble beginnings, Dogwoof has quietly built up a thriving documentary production, sales and distribution company, and has just enjoyed its first £1m UK box-office hit.

Since its inception in 2003, London-based Dogwoof has always been perceived as a niche operator. Its company name has a kitchen-table, low-key feel. Documentaries, which long ago became its exclusive focus, are viewed as a marginal activity by much of the film industry. Dogwoof’s prolific activity as a UK distributor has tended to pigeonhole it, even as it has expanded into other areas of operations. Its expansion from its original team of two has been slow and steady.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

How Dogwoof hit the big time with £1m box office hit 'Free Solo'

From humble beginnings, Dogwoof has quietly built up a thriving documentary production, sales and distribution company, and has just enjoyed its first £1m UK box-office hit.

Since its inception in 2003, London-based Dogwoof has always been perceived as a niche operator. Its company name has a kitchen-table, low-key feel. Documentaries, which long ago became its exclusive focus, are viewed as a marginal activity by much of the film industry. Dogwoof’s prolific activity as a UK distributor has tended to pigeonhole it, even as it has expanded into other areas of operations. Its expansion from its original team of two has been slow and steady.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

'Roma' usurps 'The Favourite' by winning best film at 2019 Baftas

Roma also wins best director, but The Favourite does take a night high of seven wins.

The 72nd edition of the annual Bafta Film Awards saw Roma take best film and director for Alfonso Cuarón as the Netflix release triumphed over Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite in the night’s two most prestigious categories.

Roma also took home the foreign language film prize and the cinematography award for Cuarón. Its wins, off the back of Netflix’s emphatic campaigning during awards season, puts it in good stead for the Oscars later this month.

Baftas 2019 - full list of winners

Yorgos Lanthimos
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘The Favourite’ Dominates, But ‘Roma’ Wins the Big One at BAFTA Awards

  • The Wrap
‘The Favourite’ Dominates, But ‘Roma’ Wins the Big One at BAFTA Awards
The Favourite” lived up to its name until the last minute at the Ee British Academy Film Awards, which were presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) on Sunday in London. Yorgos Lanthimos’ twisted period drama won most of the big awards until the homestretch, when Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” was named the year’s beat picture.

The Favourite” settled for wins for Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz won a best actress and best supporting actress. The film also took awards in the original screenplay, production design, makeup and hair, costume design and Outstanding British Film categories.

Rami Malek was named best actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Alfonso Cuaron won the best-director award for “Roma,” which also took prizes for its cinematography and for Best Film Not in the English Language.

Mahershala Ali was named best supporting actor for his performance in “Green Book.”

BlacKkKlansman” won for adapted screenplay.
See full article at The Wrap »

Oscar Documentary Nominees Break the Mold

  • Variety
Oscar Documentary Nominees Break the Mold
Known as a notoriously unpredictable bunch, the Academy’s documentary branch has become rather predictable in the past two years.

The evidence lies in the films they choose not to recognize come Oscar time: Films such as Brett Morgen’s 2017 Jane Goodall docu, “Jane,” and two of last year’s biggest nonfiction box office successes — Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and Tim Wardle’s “Three Identical Strangers.” Both Neville’s Mr. Rogers doc and Wardle’s film about identical triplets separated at birth premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Both films also went on to do the seemingly impossible and strike a chord with audiences all over the country. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” grossed $22.8 million domestically, making it the 12th-highest-grossing doc of all time. Meanwhile, “Strangers” also defied documentary theatrical odds when it drew in $12.3 million.

Morgen’s “Jane” grossed just
See full article at Variety »

CAA’s Scott Lonker Exits Agency to Run Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmelot Banner

  • The Wrap
CAA TV packaging agent Scott Lonker has been tapped by Jimmy Kimmel to run his recently launched media production company Kimmelot, the company announced on Monday.

Launched last fall and described as Kimmel’s “creative lab,” Kimmelot creates content in the unscripted, scripted, digital, app/mobile-based realms, with initial projects focused on comedy. Lonker will step down from his role at CAA to serve as president of the Los Angeles-based media company, which operates under Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.

“I could not be more excited. Scott is smart, creative, experienced and well-liked and, while the fact that he decided to leave a great job at CAA to run Kimmelot does make me question his instincts, I’m sure it will all work out fine,” Kimmel said in a statement.

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel Forms New Content Company Kimmelot With Brent Montgomery

Said Lonker, “I have had the dream job
See full article at The Wrap »

Inside Upstart Neon’s Big Return to Sundance With 4 Major Acquisitions (So Far)

  • The Wrap
Inside Upstart Neon’s Big Return to Sundance With 4 Major Acquisitions (So Far)
Neon left Park City, Utah, last year after lighting up the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with four acquisitions, including a splashy $10 million check for the technology dystopian thriller “Assassination Nation” — that wound up grossing just $2 million in theaters last fall.

You might think the 2-year-old company would be gun-shy in Park City this year, but instead it emerged with four films at this year’s festival — second only to the free-spending Amazon Studios.

Neon partnered with Hulu to win a bidding war for the buzzy Lupita Nyong’o comedy thriller “Little Monsters,” in a deal worth mid-seven figures, and bought the thriller “The Lodge” for just under $2 million, Latin American survival thriller “Monos” and partnered with Topic Studios to acquire rights to “Luce,” starring Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer.

In addition, Neon was also locked in pricey bidding wars for high-profile titles including Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night,” which Amazon bought for $13 million,
See full article at The Wrap »

Alfonso Cuaron wins the DGA Award for Roma, full list of winners revealed

Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar hopes received a major boost last night with the Director’s Guild of America honouring the filmmaker with the DGA Award for Best Feature Film for his acclaimed Netflix drama Roma.

The DGA Award is seen as a major indicator for the Best Director Oscar, having only differed with the Academy Awards on seven occasions since its inception in 1949. Cuaron previously won the DGA Award for Gravity, and went on to receive the Best Director Award that same year, while last year’s winner Guillermo del Toro also won the Oscar for the Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water.

Other winners from the 71st annual DGA Awards including Bo Burnham (First Time Feature Film Director for Eighth Grade), Tim Wardle (Documentary Director for Three Identical Strangers), Adam McKay (Drama Series Director for Succession), Bill Hader (Comedy Series Director for Barry) and Ben Stiller (Movies for Television
See full article at Flickeringmyth »
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