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EuropaCorp Posts Half-Year Loss of $83 Million

22 hours ago

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp (“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”) has posted a loss of $83 million (€70.6 million) for the first half of its 2017/2018 financial year. The loss figure is nearly three times higher than it was during the first semester of the last financial year — which culminated in record losses of $135 million.

EuropaCorp primarily blamed the results on the poor theatrical performance of movies it distributed in the U.S., notably “The Circle” and “Their Finest,” as well as the “disappointing Us box-office revenues for ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,'” said the report.

Directed by Besson with a budget in the $180 million range, “Valerian” tanked in the U.S., grossing only $40.5 million. It went on to gross $225.16 million worldwide. The movie nevertheless yielded strong international sales business that allowed the company to boost its revenues by 77.5% to €138.1 million.

EuropaCorp said it had already reduced its overhead costs by 13% and will be »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Terry Crews Signs With UTA After WME Battle

15 December 2017 9:00 AM, PST

A month after exiting Wme amid a sexual harassment battle, actor Terry Crews has signed with UTA for representation in all areas.

Crews, co-star of Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” left Wme in early November after going public with his allegation that he was groped by Wme partner Adam Venit at an industry party in February 2016. He subsequently filed a police report on the incident and is waging a lawsuit against Venit and Wme.

“I have never felt more emasculated, more objectified. I was horrified,” the actor told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last month.

In addition to his acting, Crews is a popular TV host and pitchman. He served stints as host of the syndicated “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Fox’s “World’s Funniest” and the Netflix unscripted series “Ultimate Beastmaster.” He has served as the face of Old Spice for the past eight years, and has an upcoming branded entertainment project with Microsoft for the »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino Respond to Peter Jackson’s Claims That Weinstein Blacklisted Them

15 December 2017 9:54 AM, PST

Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino have addressed director Peter Jackson’s claims that Harvey and Bob Weinstein made an effort to blacklist the two actresses from starring in the “Lord of the Rings” franchise in the late 1990s. Harvey Weinstein denied the allegation, through a spokesperson.

“While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film, they had no input into the casting whatsoever,” a spokesperson said.

In an interview with New Zealand media outlet Stuff, Jackson discussed working on the Miramax-produced “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” films with Weinstein.

“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998,” Jackson said.

At the time, Jackson said, he and his team had no reason to question Weinstein’s intentions.

“In hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing,” he said. “I »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Les Arcs European Film Festival’s Industry Village Kicks Off with Strong Roster

24 minutes ago

Echo,””The Orphanage,””Patrol Cars” and “Starve” are among the promising projects which will be presented at the 9th edition of Les Arcs European Film Festival’s industry village kicking off this weekend in the French Alps.

The Coproduction Village will showcase 21 European feature films in development which were selected from more than 220 applications received.

“Patrol Cars” from Stephan Komandarev, a critically-aclaimed Bulgarian director/producer/screenwriter, follows three teams of police officers patrolling the streets of a society losing all sense. Jeremy Zelnik, the head of industry at Les Arcs, described the script as a “page-turner.”

Komandarev’s credits include “Posoki/Directions” which played at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard last year.

Rúnar Runarsson and Shahrbanoo Sadat, who last participated in Les Arcs’s industry village with “Sparrows” and “Wolf and Sheep,” respectively, will also be back with projects.

Runarsson will present “Echo,” an drama looking at Icelandic society. “Sparrow,” his second film, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Rockets to $215 Million Opening Weekend

1 hour ago

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is set to take over the box office in its opening weekend, raking in around $215 million from 4,232 North American sites.

Including $45 million from Thursday previews — the second-largest Thursday night preview total ever, below “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’s” 2015 total of $57 million — the tentpole film brought in $104 million from Friday, and is looking to add over $100 million between Saturday and Sunday.

The total gross will make “The Last Jedi” the fourth film in domestic box office history to make over $200 million in its first weekend, joining “The Force Awakens” with $248.8 million, “Jurassic World” with $208.8 million, and 2012’s “The Avengers” with $207.4 million. “The Last Jedi” will finish significantly above Star Wars spinoff “Rogue One,” which opened with $155.1 million on the same weekend a year ago. »


- Erin Nyren

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Disney-Fox Deal Unleashes Flood of Free-Agent Executives, Talent

2 hours ago

Disney’s $52.4 billion deal to scoop up most of 21st Century Fox marks the beginning of an historic realignment of Hollywood’s Big Six studios. It may also lead to an industry-shaking redistribution of executive and creative talent.

Rarely has such a large number of high-level executives suddenly become free agents, from Stacey Snider and Emma Watts on the 20th Century Fox film side to TV heavyweights John Landgraf, Dana Walden, and Gary Newman — not to mention 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice, who oversees all TV.

Beyond the boldface names, there are ranks of seasoned executives at Fox and Disney/ABC who are nervous about their future, after hearing Disney’s promise of delivering $2 billion in cost savings within two years of the deal’s closing. But this flood is also hitting at a time when Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and other upstarts are beefing up their operations as they launch the push into the content »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

15 hours ago

Spurred by the multitude of sexual abuse scandals, top Hollywood executives have tapped Anita Hill to chair the newly formed Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

The commission made the announcement Friday following a meeting convened by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Nike Foundation founder and co-chair Maria Eitel, Nina Shaw, and venture captialist Freada Kapor Klein.

“The Commission will not seek just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and inter-related causes of the problems of parity and power,” said Kennedy. “The fact that so many industry leaders—across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies, Ata, AMPAS, television academy and guilds—came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era.”

Hill went public in 1991 with allegations of sexual harassment during the Senate confirmation process for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Since then, in addition to teaching law and policy at Brandeis University, Hill has been »


- Dave McNary

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Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ Flop

16 hours ago

Last year, Arnon Milchan was effusive in his praise of Warren Beatty, whose film “Rules Don’t Apply” he had agreed to help finance. In an interview with Variety, the Israeli-born financier said he put his full confidence in “the master.”

“We all put in the money and said, ‘Go make your movie. We will leave you alone,'” Milchan said at the time. Beatty was effusive in return, calling Milchan “the Medici of the movies.”

Cut to: one year later. The film flopped, grossing $3.9 million worldwide, and Milchan’s company is now suing Beatty for $18 million. »


- Gene Maddaus

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Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated ‘Addams Family’ Movie

16 hours ago

Star Wars: The Last Jedi” star Oscar Isaac is in talks with MGM to voice Gomez Addams in the animated feature film “The Addams Family.”

Isaac portrays the heroic pilot Poe Dameron in “The Last Jedi.” The rest of the cast for “The Addams Family” has not been unveiled. Conrad Vernon is directing from a screenplay by Pamela Pettler based on Charles Addams’ iconic cartoon series with revisions by Matt Lieberman.

Producers of “The Addams Family” are Gail Berman, Vernon, and Alex Schwartz. Executive producers are Kevin Miserocchi and Andrew Mittman. The Jackal Group is producing with Cinesite Studios providing the computer-generated animation.

MGM announced Friday that it had set an Oct. 11, 2019, release date for the film. The announcement comes seven weeks after MGM and Annapurna Pictures unveiled a new joint venture for theatrical distribution in the U.S. Through this joint venture, MGM expects to release approximately six to eight films per year beginning with Eli Roth »


- Dave McNary

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Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

17 hours ago

Former publicists for ID and 42West Liz Mahoney, Megan Moss Pachon, Bryna Rifkin, and Heidi Lopata are forming a new entertainment public relations firm, Narrative.

“We have the utmost esteem for our colleagues at ID and 42West and are deeply appreciative of the wisdom, guidance, and mentorship from industry leaders Kelly Bush Novak, Mara Buxbaum, Leslee Dart, Amanda Lundberg and Allan Mayer in nurturing our respective careers. We look forward to our next iteration with the formation of Narrative,” said Mahoney, Moss Pachon, Rifkin, and Lopata in a statement.

During their respective tenures, the quad represented acclaimed talent such as Amy Adams, Josh Brolin, Marion Cotillard, Emilia Clarke, Chris Evans, Kathryn Hahn, Timothy Hutton, Diane Kruger, Jennifer Lawrence, Ewan McGregor, Ezra Miller, Megan Mulally, Ruth Negga, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Sam Rockwell, Michael Shannon, Alicia Vikander, and Kate Winslet as well as filmmakers Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Brit Marling, Simon Kinberg, Matt Reeves, and Black »


- Justin Kroll

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Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy ‘Banana Split’

18 hours ago

Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato, and Dylan Sprouse are starring in the high school comedy “Banana Split,” which will begin production this month in Syracuse, N.Y.

Will Phelps, Glen Trotiner, and Sam Slater are producing. Marks co-wrote the film with Joey Power, and both will also serve as executive producers with Rowan Riley. Mickey Liddell and Jeremy Garelick’s newly formed venture, American High, is fully financing the movie.

“’Banana Split’ is a movie about an unexpected female friendship during the pivotal transition between high school and college,” she said. “This project is so close to me, and I am thrilled to be working with such funny and talented people.”

Banana Split” also stars “Red Oaks” actress Jessica Hecht, Luke Spencer Roberts, Addison Riecke and “Spider-man: Homecoming” star Jacob Batalon. The film will be the directorial debut of cinematographer Ben Kasulke.

“I am so honored to be working on a phenomenal script by my old friends [link=nm »


- Dave McNary

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Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

21 hours ago

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” has been selected as the opening night film for the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 4.

The Post,” starring Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham, will receive a limited release from Fox on Dec. 22 and go into wide release on Jan. 12. The National Board of Review has named “The Post” as the best film of 2017 with Hanks and Streep taking the top acting awards.

The Post” centers on the legal battle faced by The Washington Post over publication of the Pentagon Papers, which provided previously undisclosed details over the involvement of the U.S. government in the Vietnam War The cast includes Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.

The festival will close with “The Last Movie Star,” directed by Adam Rifkin, on Jan. 14. Burt Reynolds »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Goldfinch’ Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald as Pippa (Exclusive)

21 hours ago

Willa Fitzgerald is in negotiations to play Pippa in Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios’ adaptation of “The Goldfinch.”

Ansel Elgort will portray Theo and “Dunkirk” actor Aneurin Barnard is Boris in the film from director John Crowley. Warner Bros. had no comment on the casting.

Based on Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Goldfinch” follows a young man named Theodore Decker who survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum — an attack that kills his mother. From there, he tumbles through a series of adventures that finds him living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father and, later, involved in art forgeries.

In the novel, Pippa is Theo’s true-but-seemingly-unrequited love.

Earlier this year, Amazon Studios agreed to co-finance the film, which will go into production at the beginning of 2018. As part of the pact, Amazon will invest more than a third of the movie’s budget, which is estimated to be in the $40 million range, according »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Speeds Toward $200 Million-Plus Weekend in the U.S.

21 hours ago

The box office Force is with Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is heading for more than $200 million at 4,232 North American sites in its opening weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

The tentpole opened with $45 million on Thursday night — the second-largest Thursday night preview gross ever in North America, trailing only the $57 million for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” two years ago. The total for Friday (which includes Thursday night) should wind up in the $95 million to $98 million range, followed by as much as $60 million on Saturday and somewhere around $45 million to $48 million on Sunday.

That would mean “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will become only the fourth movie to top $200 million domestically in its opening frame, joining 2015’s “The Force Awakens” at $248.8 million, 2015’s “Jurassic World” with $208.8 million, and 2012’s “The Avengers” with $207.4 million. It will finish the weekend far above the “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One,” which opened »


- Dave McNary

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Songs for Screens: The Best Ad Synchs of 2017, Featuring Peggy Lee, Sia, Cher, Lil Yachty and More

23 hours ago

“Songs for Screens” (formerly known as “Synch This”) is a Variety column written by Andrew Hampp, a VP at New York-based music sponsorship and experiential agency Mac Presents and former branding correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column will highlight noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as new and catalog songs that we deem ripe for synch use.

With a record $314 million currently spent on synchs globally, there was no shortage of commercials with great music in 2017. But the difference between a good synch and a great synch is a song that sticks with you long after the commercial has aired. And one that might even prompt you to take some sort of action, be it a Shazam tag, a Spotify stream, or even the purchase of a concert ticket.

These 10 synchs represent some of the most unique — and successful — integrations of music the ad world had to offer this year. From »


- Andrew Hampp

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Aaron Sorkin to Receive Creative Impact in Screenwriting Award at Palm Springs Film Festival

23 hours ago

Variety has tapped Aaron Sorkin for the 2018 creative impact in screenwriting award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The award will celebrate Sorkin’s prolific screenwriting career, which includes an Academy Award for “The Social Network” and multiple Emmy Awards for “The West Wing,” as well as his directorial debut with the upcoming film, “Molly’s Game,” opening Dec. 25. Sorkin has received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for the screenplay of the film. He was honored earlier this year with a career achievement award at this year’s Zurich Film Festival.

“Molly’s Game” star Jessica Chastain will be presenting Sorkin the award at the annual brunch on Jan. 3. Chastain will receive the chairman award at the Psiff Film Awards Gala the evening before.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that Aaron Sorkin has dramatically changed the art of modern film and TV writing,” Steven Gaydos, vice president and executive editor of Variety, said. “With »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Palm Springs Hotter Than Ever: Places to Eat, Drink, Stay

15 December 2017 10:25 AM, PST

The retro-chic charm of Palm Springs never gets old. The natural beauty of the Coachella Valley, pleasant winter weather and slow pace are a welcome anti-

dote to urban life. Hence Palm Springs’ appeal to New Yorkers (who can now fly daily from JFK direct via Jet Blue through May 1) and Southern Californians who can now sit back in a Tesla (via Tesloop) for shared rides to select desert destinations. Here are some new restaurants, hotels and updated oldies designed to entice and entertain stressed out city dwellers.

Bluesy Hideaway 

Holiday House

Need a quiet retreat steps from downtown Palm Springs? The Holiday House’s 28-rooms have no TVs or telephones and there are no guests under 21 allowed. The team behind Sparrows Lodge and designer Mark D. Sikes have remade this 1951-built boutique property in blue hues. Some rooms have outdoor showers; others have mountain views; each is unique. There are loaner bikes, a casual »


- Kathy A. McDonald

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‘Icarus’ Returning to Theaters Following Russia Olympics Ban (Exclusive)

15 December 2017 10:03 AM, PST

Netflix is putting “Icarus,” its buzzy documentary about Russia’s doping program, back in theaters.

The film will screen this weekend in Los Angeles and will be shown the following weekend in New York. “Icarus” is available to Netflix subscribers on its streaming platform. It debuted in theaters on Aug. 4 for an awards-qualifying run. “Icarus” is seen as a possible contender for a best documentary Academy Award, but it needs to screen theatrically in order to get considered.

Netflix wants “Icarus” to hit the big screen again because of the recent announcement by the International Olympic Committee banning Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea following its probe into an elaborate doping scheme involving its athletes. “Icarus” follows director Bryan Fogel as he looks at the benefits and effects of using performance-enhancing drugs while competing in an amateur cycling race. Fogel stumbled into an international scandal when his research connected him with Grigory Rodchenkov, a key figure »


- Brent Lang

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Sebastian Stan Talks Jeff Gilooly, Mustaches and ‘I, Tonya’

15 December 2017 10:00 AM, PST

The story of figure skater Tonya Harding is so outrageous that the actress who portrays her, Margot Robbie, can be forgiven for not realizing it was a true tale when she first read the script. Harding, her then-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard Shawn Eckhart were implicated in an attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics, and the media coverage was relentless. In telling her story, screenwriter Steven Rogers spent time with both Harding and Gillooly and utilizes their different versions of the events to tell a funny, insightful and very human story. Best known for his work in such blockbusters as “The Martian” and as Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes in the “Captain America” films, Sebastian Stan completely transformed himself to play Gillooly, a man who sported a mustache he “can’t apologize enough for.”

Stan: “I remember hearing the story of Tonya and Nancy when it happened, but I think »


- Jenelle Riley

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Brains Behind Palm Springs Festival Programming Grilled

15 December 2017 10:00 AM, PST

Variety asked three people involved with programming films for the Palm Springs film festival to talk about their roles at the festival, what gives them a thrill and where the next big filmmaking wave is coming from.

Michael Lerman is the artistic director, “which means I oversee all artistic decisions involved in the film festival. The bulk of the job is, of course, the program itself, but there’s also the artwork and a lot of presentational aspects.”

David Ansen is the lead programmer and he says he gets to “poke my nose into everything, from documentaries to features from all over the world.”

Lili Rodriguez is the director of programming and handles African and Middle Eastern films. I do a fair amount of promotional work for the festival, alongside artistic director Michael Lerman, and of course write my fair share of program notes. She works closely with the artistic director on the festival’s overall program »


- Shalini Dore

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