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Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Regina King, Abigail Spencer Seek SAG-aftra Board Seats

2 hours ago

SAG-aftra’s upcoming national board election has drawn a quartet of new high-profile candidates — Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Modine, Abigail Spencer and Regina King.

With ballots going out July 25, the names were revealed as the self-styled progressives of Membership First and the ruling Unite For Strength Factions have unveiled their candidate slates representing the Los Angeles branch, which has the largest representation and the most competitive races. The winners will be announced on Aug. 24.

Most of the attention is on the presidential race with current president Gabrielle Carteris heading the Unite For Strength ticket, facing a challenge from Membership First’s Esai Morales along with independents Peter Antico and Robert B. Martin, Jr. SAG-aftra’s 80-member national board is the key ruling body for the union.

Taylor Thomas is best known for voicing the young Simba in “The Lion King” and starring in “Home Improvement,” where he was a cast-mate of current national board member Patricia Richardson.

“Since »


- Dave McNary

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Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Mother!’ Moves Forward to September Release

3 hours ago

Paramount Pictures has moved its Jennifer Lawrence thriller “Mother!” forward by a month to Sept. 15 from its previous Oct. 13 release date.

The studio confirmed the date change Thursday but did not elaborate. It’s possible that “Mother!” could be premiered at the Telluride Film Festival or Venice Film Festivals — both which open on Aug. 30 — or even at the Toronto Film Festival, which opens Sept. 7.

“Mother!” is directed and produced by Darren Aronofsky through his Protozoa Pictures banner along with Scott Franklin and Ari Handel. It co-stars Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kristin Wiig, Domnhall Gleeson, and Ed Harris, in addition to Lawrence.

Lawrence and Bardem portray a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

“Mother!” will open against Open Road’s Blake Lively drama “All I See Is You” and Lionsgate’s actioner “American Assassin,” starring »


- Dave McNary

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Noah Hawley Developing Doctor Doom Movie for Fox

3 hours ago

Legion” and “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley is developing a movie at Fox involving Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom.

At the end of a Comic-Con panel for “Legion” Thursday, Hawley announced that he was developing a new film at Fox — one he would say just two words about. “I’ll just say two words. The first one is Doctor and the next one is Doom,” he said.

More to come.

Related stories'Wonder Woman' Star Saïd Taghmaoui Joins 'Legion' Season 2Will Smith, Joel Edgerton Deal With Strange Things in Netflix's 'Bright' TrailerWill Smith, 'Bright' Director David Ayer on Netflix: 'They Let You Be a Filmmaker' »


- Daniel Holloway

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Will Smith, Joel Edgerton Deal With Strange Things in Netflix’s ‘Bright’ Trailer

4 hours ago

“They didn’t teach us this at the Academy,” admits Joel Edgerton to Will Smith, who play cops in a strange Los Angeles-based alternate universe in the first trailer for Netflix’s police thriller “Bright.”

“No, they did not,” Smith concurs in typical movie-cop-to-movie-cop banter.

Smith, Edgerton, and director David Ayer finally unveiled the trailer during Thursday afternoon’s session at Comic-Con’s Hall H in San Diego.

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Will Smith, ‘Bright’ Director David Ayer on Netflix: ‘They Let You Be a Filmmaker’

Smith’s human cop Ward and Edgertons’ orc officer Jakoby are not pleased to be paired together — “I’m not here to be your friend,” says Smith — but manage to get along while on a routine night patrol … until they discover a deadly wand that could destroy everything. “This is like a new killer weapon that grants wishes,” Edgerton observes.

Edgerton further notes that the pair may be a prophecy, prompting »


- Dave McNary

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Will Smith, ‘Bright’ Director David Ayer on Netflix: ‘They Let You Be a Filmmaker’

4 hours ago

Put David Ayer squarely in the pro-Netflix camp.

The “Bright” director praised the streaming service for giving him creative freedom to make his upcoming fantasy adventure during a panel discussion on Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con.

“They let you be a filmmaker,” Ayer said. He later added that the picture, which reunites him with his “Suicide Squad” star Will Smith, “Ain’t no bull s–t, PG-13 studio movie. This is real s–t.”

Smith also praised Netflix for rolling the dice on “Bright,” a special effects-heavy picture that reportedly cost $90 million to produce. “I’m sure this will end soon, but they just give you the money and say, ‘Go make a movie,'” said Smith.

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Ayer hasn’t had the happiest experience with big studio filmmaking of late. “Suicide Squad,” a Warner Bros. and DC release, was a commercial success, grossing $745.6 million, »


- Brent Lang and Seth Kelley

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Anna Faris-Eugenio Derbez Comedy ‘Overboard’ Lands April Release

5 hours ago

Lionsgate has set an April 20, 2018, release date for its remake of the romantic comedy “Overboard,” starring Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez.

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, and Edward Herrmann starred in the 1987 original directed by Garry Marshall. Hawn played a selfish heiress who got amnesia when she fell off her yacht, while Russell portrayed a carpenter who ultimately fell in love with her.

The original movie has been re-imagined with a reversal of the leading roles. The story now focuses on a spoiled playboy from one of Mexico’s wealthiest families, portrayed by Derbez, who falls overboard off his yacht. He’s then convinced by Faris’ single, working-class mom that he is her husband. Eva Longoria also stars. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Purge 4’ Finds Director in ‘Burning Sands’ Filmmaker Gerard McMurray

6 hours ago

Gerard McMurray has come on board to direct the untitled fourth “Purge” movie for Blumhouse Productions with Universal Pictures setting a July 4, 2018, release date.

McMurray’s feature directorial debut “Burning Sands” premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix. The film chronicles the brutal hazing process at an all-black university. McMurray also produced and co-wrote “Burning Sands.”

He additionally served as an associate producer on Ryan Coogler’s highly praised 2015 feature film, “Fruitvale Station.”

James DeMonaco — who served as the writer/director of “The Purge,” “The Purge: Anarchy,” and “The Purge: Election Year” — is returning to write the script. The logline is under wraps.

All three films center on America having devolved into a culture where murder is legal for one night every year. The franchise’s producers are Blumhouse ProductionsJason Blum; Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller »


- Dave McNary

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Seeks to Raise State Production Tax Incentives to at Least $500 Million

6 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is promising to push for an increase in California’s production tax incentives to at least $500 million annually — up more than 50% from the current $330 million figure.

“We must make sure, first and foremost, that the film industry not only stays strong but expands,” he said Thursday morning in a speech before about 400 attendees, hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce at the Loews Hotel.

“This is an opportunity for us to not rest on our laurels and to show that we aren’t going backwards any more,” he added. “When the legislature comes back to this issue, we should be going to $500 million or more. Maybe even no limit.”

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Garcetti, who was re-elected in March, had highlighted during his campaign that he had been active in pushing the state legislature to expand the tax credit program from $100 million annually »


- Dave McNary

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Zoey Deutch to Co-Star With Johnny Depp in Im Global’s ‘Richard Says Goodbye’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch is set to co-star with Johnny Depp in the Im Global film “Richard Says Goodbye.”

Wayne Roberts is writing and directing the pic with Im Global financing. Producers are Brian Kavanaugh-Jones of Automatik and Im Global president of production Greg Shapiro, with Stuart Ford and Depp executive producing.

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The dramedy follows a college professor who lives his life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Deutch will play his daughter in the pic, and production is already underway.

The film is the first under Im Global’s first look feature film deal with Depp’s Infinitum Nihil production company, which the actor signed this past June.

This is a major gig for Deutch, whose star has been on the rise since breaking out in her first starring role earlier this year in Open Road’s “Before I Fall.” She »


- Justin Kroll

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Bill Hader Eyeing Disney’s Female Santa Claus Film With Anna Kendrick (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Bill Hader is in talks to co-star with Anna Kendrick in Disney’s upcoming female Santa Claus film “Nicole,” sources tell Variety.

Miss Congeniality” scribe Marc Lawrence is directing and penning the script.

The story revolves around Santa’s daughter, presumably the titular Nicole, who is forced to take over the family business when her father retires and brother ends up getting cold feet prior to his first big Christmas Eve flight. Hader will play said brother.

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Susanne Todd is producing while Louie Provost is overseeing for Disney. Production is expected to start sometime this fall.

While this film is not related to the Tim Allen “Santa Clause” triology, Disney seems to be in the Kris Kringle business as they are also developing another holiday-themed project with Kevin Hart, “Dashing Through the Snow.”

Hader cut his teeth on the “Saturday Night Live” scene for ten years »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Guardians 2’ Help Push Movie Ticket Prices to New Record High

7 hours ago

Movie ticket prices hit record levels in the second quarter of 2017.

It cost consumers an average of $8.95 a ticket during the three-month period ending in June. That’s a 1.2% hike over the previous quarter and a 2.5% increase from the prior-year period.

It’s shaping up to be a very expensive year for movie-going. Tickets in the first quarter of 2017 cost an average of $8.84, which also established a new high-water mark for the industry.

Moviegoers in New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities may look at $8.95 as a relative bargain. Theater tickets routinely cost upwards of $10 in metropolitan areas, but the figures are culled from across the country. They are calculated by the National Association of Theatre Owners, the exhibition industry’s lobbying arm.

The group notes that part of the reason for the price hike has to do with the number of films that were showcased in 3D, Imax, and other premium formats. »


- Brent Lang

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Halle Berry Chugs a Huge Glass of Whiskey and More Things You Missed at the ‘Kingsman 2’ Comic-Con Panel

8 hours ago

Whiskey flowed during the loose and boozy “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday.

The sequel to the 2014 British spy thriller reunites the group of secret agents who use a tailor shop as a cover. This time around they travel to the United States where they team with their American counterpart (called Statesman) who pose as cowboy whiskey distillers.

And so the bourbon was poured, starting with Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, who shared a shot before the clock struck noon on the West Coast. Moderator Jonathan Ross validated their behavior by pointing out that it was past 7 p.m. in the U.K. Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum, both Statesman, also liquored up. But Halle Berry, who plays a tech wizard named Ginger Ale, put them all to shame by chugging an entire water glass of alcohol, no chaser.

Ross, who emcees a popular U.K. »


- Seth Kelley and Brent Lang

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Mads Mikkelsen in Talks to Join Sci-Fi Adventure ‘Chaos Walking’

9 hours ago

Mads Mikkelsen is in negotiations to join Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as the villain in Lionsgate’s science-fiction adventure “Chaos Walking.”

Doug Liman is directing while Allison Shearmur, Doug Davison, and Erwin Stoff are the producers. The screenplay will be written by Charlie Kaufman, Lindsey Beers, John Lee Hancock, and Gary Spinelli (“Mena”).

The film is based on Patrick Ness’ “Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go,” a book that was published in 2008 as the first in a trilogy. It is set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts.

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Mads Mikkelsen on Surviving the Polar Wilderness in ‘Arctic

The book is centered on the only boy in a town of men, who discovers something awful hidden from him and is forced to flee with only his dog. With the townspeople in pursuit, the duo then stumbles upon a strange and silent girl and together set off »


- Dave McNary

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‘Dunkirk’ Opens Solidly With $2.2 Million in Seven European Markets

10 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has launched in first place in seven European markets that opened Wednesday with a total of $2.2 million for Warner Bros.

France launched with $1.1 million with 143,000 admissions on 668 screens, outperforming the opening day gross for Nolan’s “Interstellar” by 68% and equal to “American Sniper.”

Related

Iraq War Veteran and Author Draws Similarities Between Dunkirk and 9/11 (Guest Column)

Scandinavian markets also generated  $656,000 for the region, with Sweden commanding a 53% share of the total market, Norway at 52%, and Finland at 40%.

Dunkirk” opens in 24 additional territories Thursday, including Russia, Korea and Australia. The UK and Spain follow on Friday, for a total of 46 markets for the weekend.

Dunkirk” will open in the U.S. on Friday amid expectations of a launch in the $30 million to $35 million range as it sets sail in more than 3,600 venues. The movie is getting the widest 70Mm release in more than two decades, which is a testament to the trust the backers »


- Dave McNary

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Indian Actor Anupam Kher Talks About Playing Kumail Nanjiani’s Father in ‘The Big Sick’

11 hours ago

Indian actor Anupam Kher, who plays the Pakistani father to Kumail Nanjiani in the hit film “The Big Sick,” has hundreds of film and TV credits, including such Western productions as Netflix’s “Sense8” and TWC’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” Upcoming is Netflix’s “The Indian Detective” with Russell Peters and the Weinstein Co.’s “Hotel Mumbai,” based on the terrorist attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in 2008, with Dev Patel and Armie Hammer.

How did you hear about the role in “The Big Sick”?

Kumail’s ex-agent in L.A., Priyanka Mattoo, is a distant cousin of mine. She called me and said there is this script. I don’t watch too much TV, so I didn’t know him. She said Kumail’s father wants you to play him, and I said, “Ok, send me the script.” I asked for Kumail’s number and called him. He thought it was a prank. I »


- Shalini Dore

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Iraq War Veteran and Author Draws Similarities Between Dunkirk and 9/11 (Guest Column)

12 hours ago

In the days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, I remember seeing the boats. Boats off all kinds. Civilian boats. Dozens of them. Rushing into the smoke and panic in lower Manhattan. They courageously pushed into the danger, to help their fellow Americans. They didn’t know if another attack was coming. They didn’t know if more planes were coming. They didn’t know if they’d die. They just knew people needed help — people who needed to escape what had instantly and shockingly become a war zone in Lower Manhattan. The scope of it all was mammoth. Beyond anything the world had ever seen. It was too big to capture on a TV screen. So was the breadth of the bravery.

It was a kind of unity and selflessness I’d never seen in my life. And in the 16 years since 9/11, we haven’t seen since. It »


- Paul Rieckhoff

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Anne Hathaway to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller ‘O2’

12 hours ago

Anne Hathaway has come on board to star in the independent science-fiction thriller “O2,” with shooting planned for the fall.

Im Global is financing. Producers are Suzan Bymel and Hathaway with Echo Lake’s Adam Riback and James Engle, as well as Im Global’s Stuart Ford and Greg Shapiro. CAA is representing domestic rights.

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Producers are seeking a director for “O2.” Christie LeBlanc has written the script, in which a woman wakes up inside a cryogenic chamber with no memory of how she got there while the air in the chamber begins slowly running out. The script was named to the 2016 Black List in December.

Im Global is shooting “Serenity” with Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, in which McConaughey plays a fishing boat captain living in the Caribbean whose questionable past comes back to haunt him, ensnaring his life in a new reality that may not be »


- Dave McNary

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Playback: Luc Besson on ‘Valerian’ and Finding Inspiration Outside of Movies

12 hours ago

Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Filmmaker Luc Besson grew up at sea, soaking up beautiful scenery, the child of scuba diving instructors. He eventually found his way to the comic series “Valerian and Laureline,” and a childhood dream was born.

For years he wanted to turn the eye-popping French tales into a feature film, but until he saw what James Cameron accomplished on “Avatar,” he felt it was impossible. Finally, that dream is a reality as “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” hits theaters this weekend. And it’s noteworthy that it’s a project with such deep roots in his childhood, because in many ways, his childhood influenced what you see up on the screen in the film.

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.

Click »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Christopher Gorham’s ‘A Boy Called Po’ Lands September Release

14 hours ago

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired the North American rights to John Asher’s family drama “A Boy Called Po,” starring Christopher Gorham, Julian Feder, and Kaitlin Doubleday, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film will be released in domestic theaters and on digital platforms on Sept. 1. It has been honored as the 2016 breakthrough feature at the San Diego International Film Festival and best feature film at Palm Beach International Film Festival.

Double Dutch International, headed by Jason Moring, is handling international sales rights and will introduce the title to international buyers during the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Inspired by true events, “A Boy Called Po” tells the story of a recently widowed father (Gorham) struggling to raise his sixth-grade son (Feder) who has autism. The pressure of work, school, and coping with the loss of wife and mom push the two nearly to the point of breaking.

Asher directed from a script by Colin Goldman who »


- Dave McNary

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Fathom Events Hires Regal Executive Ray Nutt as CEO

15 hours ago

Fathom Events and co-owners AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings, and Regal Entertainment Group have tapped Ray Nutt as new chief executive officer for Fathom Events.

Nutt will be transitioning from Regal Entertainment Group to the role of Fathom CEO, where he will also serve as a board director for Fathom. He’s replacing longtime CEO John Rubey, who has not yet announced his plans.

Fathom specializes in presenting live events and one-night showings for theatrical chains. Fathom’s biggest recent events include “Batman: The Killing Joke” in over 1,160 theaters last year; “TCM Big Screen Classics” screened at more than 700 theaters and “Met Live” at 700 sites.

“As CEO of Fathom Events, I look forward to growing Fathom’s existing program verticals and identifying programming opportunities that will bring new and exciting cinematic experiences to the big screen for our Fathom fans and benefit our content providers, all exhibitor partners, employees and shareholders,” Nutt said. »


- Dave McNary

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