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‘Annabelle: Creation’ Dethrones China’s ‘Wolf Warriors II’ at International Box Office

20 August 2017 2:47 PM, PDT

After three weekends on top of the international box office charts, “Wolf Warriors II” is taking a small step down.

That’s because “Annabelle: Creation” has pulled a week two switcheroo. The latest entry in the “Conjuring Universe” is spending its second weekend of release on top of the international charts with $42 million from 56 territories. Combined with last week’s overseas take and its domestic grosses, the horror movie has now earned $160.7 million worldwide.

Related

Film Review: ‘Wolf Warrior II

Those are great numbers for the low budget sequel, yes. But when stacked up against “Wolf Warriors II,” it’s a different story. The record-breaking Chinese film should take in an additional $36 million this weekend from six territories. That puts its overseas grosses at $772 million, making it the second highest-grossing movie from a single territory of all time behind “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.” When combined with the spare change it’s made in »


- Seth Kelley

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Hollywood Pays Tribute to ‘Comedic Icon’ Jerry Lewis: ‘One of the Greatest of All Time’

20 August 2017 11:44 AM, PDT

An outpouring of tributes and messages on social media and elsewhere followed the news that comedy king Jerry Lewis had died on Sunday at age 91.

Lewis was celebrated during his lifetime for starring in movies including “The Nutty Professor” and “The Bellboy” before launching the Muscular Dystrophy telethon.

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Jerry Lewis’ Life and Career in Photos

The White House press secretary released the following statement to reflect on Lewis’ life: “Jerry Lewis kept us all laughing for over half a century, and his incredible charity work touched the lives of millions. Jerry lived the American Dream — he truly loved his country, and his country loved him back. Our thoughts are with his family today as we remember the extraordinary life of one of our greatest entertainers and humanitarians. Thank you, Jerry. You will be missed.”

Penn Jillette, of the comedy duo Penn and Teller, was among the first to break the news. “Jerry Lewis »


- Seth Kelley

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Jerry Lewis, Comedy Legend, Dies at 91

20 August 2017 10:50 AM, PDT

Jerry Lewis, the brash slapstick comic who became a pop culture sensation in his partnership with Dean Martin and then transformed himself into an auteur filmmaker of such comedic classics as “The Nutty Professor” and “The Bellboy,” has died in Las Vegas. He was 91.

Lewis died at his home in Las Vegas at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning, his agent confirmed.

For most of his career, Lewis was a complicated and sometimes polarizing figure. An undeniable comedic genius, he pursued a singular vision and commanded a rare amount of creative control over his work with Paramount Pictures and other studios. He legacy also includes more than $2.5 billion raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through the annual Labor Day telethon that he made an end-of-summer ritual for decades until he was relieved of the hosting job in 2011.

But Lewis’ brand of humor did not always wear well as times and attitudes changed. Over »


- Richard Natale and Carmel Dagan

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Healthy Tomatoes? The Danger of Film Critics Speaking as One

20 August 2017 9:10 AM, PDT

Remember when film critics were obsolete? When we’d lost our swagger, our sway, our influence? When it seemed like the entire world had gone critic-proof, because we just didn’t matter anymore? It’s hard to pinpoint when, exactly, film critics attained Peak Irrelevance, but it’s starting to seem like an eon ago, because this summer a chorus of people — moviegoers, film-industry executives, critics themselves — have been singing a very different tune. It’s called: We’re back! Critics, in case you hadn’t heard, have emerged from the dark cave of our obsolescence and are once again bringing the news, keeping the studios in check, making the world safe for bad movies to die the grisly box-office death they deserve. Look out, “Emoji Movie”! We’re coming at you with a pitchfork.

As someone with a vested interest in thinking that critics matter, I’d argue that our influence never totally went away. There »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Joel Silver Sued Over Assistant’s Death in Bora Bora

20 August 2017 8:53 AM, PDT

Joel Silver, his company Silver Pictures, and its employee Martin Herold have all been named in a lawsuit regarding the death of Silver’s former personal assistant, Carmel Musgrove.

The suit, filed by Musgrove’s estate and parents, is suing all three parties for wrongful death. Musgrove was found dead at age 28 on a beach in Bora Bora during a star-studded trip to the island hot spot in 2015.

In the suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorney Brian Watkins laid out the events that led up to Musgrove’s death. Regarding the setting, Watkins wrote, “She, Herold, the Silver-related guests, along with a larger entourage of movie stars and their family members, stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel by occupying over 40 bungalows as part of Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s honeymoon celebration.” The filing then alleges that “Herold provided Carmel (and possibly others) with cocaine” sometime between Aug. 4, the »


- Seth Kelley

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Box Office: ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Nabs No. 1, ‘Logan Lucky’ Misfires

20 August 2017 7:35 AM, PDT

Without a superhero movie or new studio sequel in play, this weekend provided an opening for two smaller films to shine. But as the weekend draws to a close, one is beaming brighter than the other.

That title goes to Lionsgate’s R-rated action comedy “Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which is firing off to $21.6 million during its opening weekend at 3,377 locations. That’s a solid opening, especially during a painful summer for the movie business and sleepy month of August. The final tally was fueled by an aggressive marketing push, and a trio of stars at the center — Samuel L. Jackson as a notorious hitman, and Salma Hayek as hit equally threatening wife, and Ryan Reynolds as a bodyguard. The film comes courtesy of director Patrick Hughes (“The Expendables 3”) and writer Tom O’Connor.

“‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is generating great word of mouth among moviegoers,” said Lionsgate’s distribution president David Spitz. “It »


- Seth Kelley

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Sanfic: Andrés Lubert Gets Personal about his Chilean Dictatorship-Era Doc, ‘The Color of the Chameleon’

20 August 2017 3:00 AM, PDT

Santiago De Chile –Today Jorge Lubert is a camera-man and journalist who has been to some of the most dangerous places in the world to cover human rights issues. It’s not the career path that Pinochet’s fascist regime had in mind when they kidnapped, tortured, and brainwashed him when he was only 21 years old.

Directed by Jorge’s son Andres Lubert, “The Color of the Chameleon,” is a documentary retelling of Jorge’s life as a young adult under Pinochet, that government’s attempts to transform a civilian into a secret service agent, his eventual escape to cold war Berlin, and how his previously untold story kept him at a distance from everyone in his life, particularly Andres. It unfolds like a puzzle whose pieces, when finally assembled, paint a picture of a father’s love for his son.

The film is co-produced by Belgium based indie producer Off World and, Chile »


- Jamie Lang

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Sanfic: Juan Pablo Tercenier Explains Why Making ‘Sapo’ Was Inevitable

20 August 2017 3:00 AM, PDT

Santiago De Chile — “Sapo”, translated to English, literally means “Toad.” In Chile the term is used to refer to private civilians who secretly worked with the country’s fascist government from outside during Pinochet’s dictatorship. In English we might use the title “rat.”

The film is a back and forth journey through the life of fictional TV journalist Jeremías Gallardo. The story is revealed as a series of memories recalled by Gallardo while driving from the state’s most famous prison in Valparaiso, where he has just watched a government-sanctioned firing squad execution of two prisoners, to Santiago de Chile, where he is missing the birth of his child to cover the event.

Sapo” marks a shift for Chilean post-production company Plataforma Digital, as they move into feature production, alongside fellow Chilean first-timers Pausa and France’s Zapik Films. Domestic distribution is being handled by Storyboard Media.

The film stars Chilean cinema veteran Fernando Gómez Rovira (“Taxi »


- Jamie Lang

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Musicians’ Union Members Stage Free Concert to Bring Scoring Jobs Back to L.A.

19 August 2017 8:26 PM, PDT

As part of an ongoing effort to return scoring jobs to California, some 150 music professionals supporting Los Angeles musician unions gathered on Saturday (Aug. 19) at Los Angeles City Hall for a free concert. They included members of Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians, SAG-aftra and Iatse; and other music groups including the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the American Youth Symphony, the L.A. Chamber Orchestra, and the Recording Academy of Los Angeles.

Longtime “American Idol” music director Rickey Minor led a six-man band in music throughout the event, and songwriters Siddhartha Khosla and Chris Pierce performed “We Can Always Come Back to This,” the Memphis-soul-style song that proved popular during the past season of “This Is Us.”

Related

Musicians’ Union Backs Legislation to Return Scoring Jobs to L.A.

The aim of the concert was to raise awareness for  Assembly Bill 1300, known as the “Music Scoring Tax Credit Bill,” which »


- Jon Burlingame and Shirley Halperin

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Viennale Taps Franz Schwartz as Interim Artistic Director, Following Passing of Hans Hurch

19 August 2017 4:59 PM, PDT

The Viennale has appointed Franz Schwartz as interim artistic director, following the death of Hans Hurch. The plan of how to carry on with this year’s festival, scheduled to run from Oct. 19-Nov. 2, was announced on Thursday, as colleagues and friends gathered for the funeral of the Austrian film festival’s longtime leader. Hurch, who was 64 years old, died of heart failure on July 23, while visiting director Abel Ferrara in Italy.

Of all the festivals of its stature or larger, it’s hard to imagine one that might be more impacted by the passing of its director than the Viennale. Hurch was an iconoclastic figure who, although assisted by a programming team, personally shaped the lineup of each edition to reflect the extremely refined taste for which he was known. He had a tendency to invite films that no one else on his team understood, and might veto those he disliked, despite »


- Peter Debruge

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Erik Poppe’s ‘The King’s Choice’ Sweeps 8 Amanda Norwegian National Film Awards

19 August 2017 12:38 PM, PDT

Haugesund, Norway — Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s historical epic, ”The King’s Choice” (”Kongens nei”), was the Amanda jury’s clear favorite at this year’s awards. Nominated for a record 13 Amandas — Norway’s national film prizes — it snagged eight on Saturday night at Haugesund’s Scandic Maritim Hall. The kudos ceremony unspooled one day before the opening of the 45th Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund, which runs through Aug. 25.

Norwegian actress (and singer) Pia Tjelta, who earlier on the day was honored with a stone at Haugesund’s walk of fame – the Haraldsgate – hosted the show, which was televised by Norwegian commercial broadcaster TV. A majority of Amanda winners went on stage to receive their statuettes.

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Locarno: Wang Bing’s ‘Mrs. Fang’ Wins Golden Leopard

“The King’s Choice” topped Norwegian box office charts last year, earning 713,276 admissions. It was named best Norwegian feature of 2016 by the Norwegian Film Critics. It »


- Jorn Rossing Jensen

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SAG-aftra President Gabrielle Carteris Repudiates Election Fraud Claim

19 August 2017 11:28 AM, PDT

With the SAG-aftra election coming to a close, SAG-aftra president Gabrielle Carteris has denied an assertion of election fraud by her opponents.

The controversy has arisen in the wake of a recent campaign claim by Carteris and her allies that presidential candidate Esai Morales had been negligent in his role as first VP of the union’s Los Angeles locale by not attending 33 of 35 board meetings. Morales’ Membership First faction hit back on Aug. 16 by alleging that Carteris had been duplicitous in her behavior by resigning her local seat two years ago — and threatened to make a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor if she does so again.

Both Morales and Carteris, who leads the Unite For Strength slate, are running for national and local offices at the same time. She told Variety that the Membership claim of “election fraud” is not valid.

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SAG-aftra Presidential Candidate Pete Antico Blasts Union Leaders Following ‘Deadpool 2 »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Shooting to $20 Million Debut, ‘Logan’ Not So ‘Lucky’

19 August 2017 8:42 AM, PDT

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” won’t have to fight hard to claim the new No. 1 spot in the box office. The late summer entry starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson is expected to easily win this rather slow weekend.

Lionsgate’s buddy action comedy is shooting towards a $20 million debut after taking in $8 million from 3,377 theaters on Friday, including Thursday night previews. While that number is on the higher end of early estimates, it’s still one of the smallest opening weekends for a first place film in 2017.

In its second frame, “Annabelle: Creation” from Warner Bros. falls to a still-respectable second place. The fourth film in the “Conjuring Universe” is on track for a $15 million showing after bringing in $5 million from 3,542 locations on Friday.

Related

Film Review: ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

The weekend’s other new entry, “Logan Lucky,” isn’t faring as well as the title would have you believe. Bleecker »


- JD Knapp

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Nordic Content Powers Up Haugesund Market

18 August 2017 10:30 PM, PDT

Haugesund, Norway — A record number of 440 Nordic and international film professionals have registered for the 23rd New Nordic Films market at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, now the largest Nordic film market. 

It opens on Tuesday Aug. 22 at Haugesund’s Edda Theatre with the announcement of the nominations for the Nordic Council Film Prize, one of the largest and most prestigious awards in the Nordic countries.

“In the last couple of years, the international focus on Nordic content has been increasing, which is the main reason for the growing participation,” said market director Gyda Velvin Myklebust, who has been in charge of the operation for 15 years. 

She added that another reason was the market’s presentation of films “on four levels”: Graduation movies from Nordic film schools; screenplays for new features; works-in-progress and completed features – as well as the projects in the Nordic Co-Production and Finance Market.”

Danish »


- Jorn Rossing Jensen

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10 Most Important Movies to Understand Racism and Fascism in America

18 August 2017 6:39 PM, PDT

Consider this list as a syllabus for a course that could be titled The Cinema of a Divided America. These ten features and documentaries, listed in order of their release, reflect how film has reflected — and, in some cases, fueled — attitudes about racial polarization and radical right movements in our country. For better or worse, all of them remain quite relevant. Especially right now.

Related storiesShould White Filmmakers Be Telling the Story of 'Detroit'?Crashes Fuel High-Risk Oscar Race'Birth of a Nation,' 'Moonlight' Score Six NAACP Image Award Nominations (Full List) »

- Joe Leydon

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‘The Conjuring’ Series, Spinoffs Top $1 Billion at Worldwide Box Office

18 August 2017 4:32 PM, PDT

New Line’s four-film “Conjuring” series has scared up more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, thanks to “Annabelle: Creation” taking in more than $110 million.

The low-cost franchise launched in 2013 with “The Conjuring,” starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators, and was spun off with 2014’s demonic doll “Annabelle,” followed by the 2016 sequel “The Conjuring 2” and this summer’s sequel “Annabelle: Creation.”

James Wan and Peter Safran have produced all four films and Wan directed both “Conjuring” movies. New Line will release another spinoff, “The Nun,” in July. The studio is also in active development with Wan’s Atomic Monster and the Safran Company on “The Conjuring 3” and another spinoff, “The Crooked Man,” based on a character that appeared in “The Conjuring 2.”

Related

Box Office: ‘Annabelle: Creation’ Levitates to No. 1 With $35 Million

Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said, »


- Dave McNary

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Film News Roundup: Music Biopics ‘Dalida,’ ‘Django’ Land U.S. Releases

18 August 2017 4:27 PM, PDT

In today’s film news roundup, two music biopics get domestic distribution and Harvey Weinstein launches an animated films label.

Acquisitions

Under the Milky Way has acquired U.S. domestic theatrical rights to the music biopics “Dalida” and “Django,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Dalida,” directed by Lisa Azuelos, will open in the fall. The film stars Sveva Alviti as the Egyptian-born Italian singer who became one of France’s biggest pop stars from the 1950s to the 1980s. Recording in more than five languages, Dalida sold a record-breaking 170 million albums during her lifetime. Riccardo Scamarcio, Jean-Paul Rouve, and Nicolas Duvauchelle also star.

Django,” meanwhile, launches early next year. Directed by Etienne Comar, the film stars Reda Kateb as gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, with Cecile de France playing his muse. The movie, which opened this year’s Berlin Film Festival, is set in 1943 Paris amid the occupation by Nazis, who oppose his “hot jazz” as being degenerate »


- Dave McNary

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‘Predator’ Actor Sonny Landham Dies at 76

18 August 2017 3:07 PM, PDT

Actor Sonny Landham, who appeared in “Predator” and “48 Hrs,” died from congestive heart failure Thursday in Lexington, Ky. He was 76.

The actor, who was part Seminole and part Cherokee, was best known for portraying Native American tracker Billy Sole in Arnold Schwarzenegger-starrer “Predator” in 1987. However, he did not appear in the film’s sequels.

Landham’s early work in the 1970s included several X-rated films, but after appearing in Walter Hill’s 1979 street-gang thriller “The Warriors,” Landham often portrayed the tough guy in 1980s films including roles in “Action Jackson” and “Lock Up.” With over 50 acting credits to his name, Landham continued to appear in films through the 1990s.

In 2003, Landham embarked on a brief campaign for the governor of Kentucky, but was unable to secure the Republican Party’s nomination. Landham also ran for the Kentucky State Senate in 2004, and was nominated by Kentucky’s Libertarian party for candidacy in 2008 for one of Kentucky’s »


- Erin Nyren

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Dale Spina, Former Warner Bros. Ad Exec Who Worked on ‘Batman’ and ‘Beetlejuice,’ Dies at 66

18 August 2017 2:40 PM, PDT

Dale Spina, formerly Warner Bros.’ vice president of creative advertising and a copywriter for the studio, died on Aug. 4 after a brief illness. He was 66.

Spina served as co-head of The Idea Place, Warner’s in-house ad agency that was formed in the early 1980s. He worked on “Batman,” the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, “Beetlejuice,” and “Chariots of Fire.” Many of his projects won Key Art Awards.

Spina joined Warner Bros. in 1970 as assistant to West Coast publicity director Diana Widom before becoming serving the same role to Charlotte Kandel (Widom’s twin sister) two years later, who was then a publicity project director.

In 1980, Spina began to work with Joel Wayne, previously the top creative executive at Grey Advertising in New York, who had just joined Warner Bros. as new vice president and creative director.

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“Dale was a genius writer,” Wayne said. “In my nearly half-century in the business, there »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Shooting for $20 Million in Slow Weekend

18 August 2017 1:14 PM, PDT

Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is heading for as much as $20 million at 3,337 North American locations, which will easily top a sleepy weekend at the domestic box office, early estimates showed Friday.

Steven Soderbergh’s heist caper “Logan Lucky” is showing little traction with about $8 million at 3,026 sites — about half the second weekend of “Annabelle: Creation” at about $15 million.

The disparity between the two openers — both action-comedies aimed at adults — came into focus with the first actual numbers from Thursday night previews. “Hitman’s Bodyguard” pulled in $1.7 million at 2,600 sites on Thursday night, or more than three times the “Logan Lucky” preview take of $525,000.

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Girls Trip’ Crosses $100 Million at Domestic Box Office

PostTrak data on “Hitman’s Bodyguard” taken on Thursday night showed potential for solid word-of-mouth with 42% of the audience members surveyed rating the film “excellent” and another 29% calling it “very good.”

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, has »


- Dave McNary

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