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‘Peter Gunn’ Star Lola Albright Dies at 92

22 minutes ago

Lola Albright, the glamorous blonde actress best known for starring on the television series “Peter Gunn,” died Thursday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92.

A native of Akron, Ohio, news of her death was first reported by the Akron Beacon-Journal. “She went very peacefully,” her friend Eric Anderson told the newspaper. “She died at 7:20 a.m. of natural causes. We loved her so much.”

Albright was a receptionist at Wakr radio in Akron, then left to go to Cleveland’s Wtam, where she wed announcer Warren Dean — the first of three marriages.

Her first film appearance came in 1947 in “The Unfinished Dance,” starring Margaret O’Brien. She then starred with Judy Garland in “Easter Parade” in 1948. The next year she appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in 1949’s “Champion,” portraying a spurned lover. Douglas received an Oscar nomination for his work.

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In 1950, she acted »


- Dave McNary

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Panama Film Festival Unveils Centerpiece 2017 Primera Mirada Slate

32 minutes ago

The third edition of the Panama Film Festival’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post sidebar has selected four films – from the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Puerto Rico- from a total of 48 films submitted from the Central America and the Caribbean.

Primera Mirada is particularly important for the region’s filmmakers who often work miracles to get their projects off the ground and often desperately require post-production completion finance. The number of films submitted to the competition has risen progressively – with 32 films in 2015, 46 in 2016 and 48 this year.

The sidebar attracts leading international sales agents to its screenings – projects will be screened in exclusive private sessions for sales agents, distributors, and film festival programmers – and has served as an important springboard for selected projects.

2015’s Primera Mirada winner, “I Promise You Anarchy,” by Guatemalan director Julio Hernandez Cordon, had its world premiere at Locarno a few months later, followed by screenings in Toronto, »


- Martin Dale

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‘Kong: Skull Island’ Roars to Massive $22.5 Million Opening in China

48 minutes ago

Kong: Skull Island” roared to a $22.5 million opening day in China on Friday, including Thursday midnight screenings.

The first-day take represented nearly 76% of China’s total box office haul on Friday. That marks the second-largest English-language film launch of the year in the country, behind “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and the fifth-biggest Friday debut ever for a U.S. title in the Middle Kingdom.

The international total outside of China has hit $167.3 million, led by the U.K. with $14.8 million, Mexico with $11.8 million, and South Korea with $11.6 million. The monster pic opens in Japan on March 25.

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Kong: Skull Island,’ ‘Logan’ and Why March Is Kicking Off Summer Blockbuster Season

Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson star in “Kong: Skull Island,” a reboot of the King Kong franchise set on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. The film, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, carries a hefty $185 million price tag. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Last Men in Aleppo’ Takes Top Prize at Copenhagen’s Cph:dox Fest

55 minutes ago

With the documentary market recently inundated with Syria-themed titles, one title is emerging as the most decorated of the lot. Two months after scooping the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance’s world documentary competition, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s harrowing, immersive war-zone study “Last Men in Aleppo” has also triumphed at Cph:dox, Copenhagen’s eminent all-doc festival.

Fayyad’s film, which follows a hardy group of White Helmets volunteers at the frontline of the conflict in Aleppo, was handed the top prize in the festival’s premier Dox:award section, by a jury whose members included Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”), Sundance programmer Caroline Libresco, Patricipant Media’s Laura Kim, Marie-Pierre Macia and Renata Santoro. It was also something of a home-turf victory for the Danish co-production, which was co-directed by Dane Steen Johannessen.

The jury described “Last Men in Aleppo” as “a film whose devastating emotional immediacy »


- Guy Lodge

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Box Office: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Still Commanding No. 1 Despite ‘Power Rangers’ Surge

1 hour ago

Disney’s second weekend of “Beauty and the Beast” is heading for a  dominant $85 million in North America for the Friday-Sunday period, early estimates showed Friday.

Lionsgate’s opening of “Power Rangers” is launching with as much as $40 million this weekend — though the studio  is maintaining its $30 million forecast. Sony’s space-thriller “Life” is showing moderate traction with early estimates pegging the film to around $14 million while Warner Bros.’ action-comedy “Chips” appears headed for a quiet opening in the $6 million to $9 million range.

In short, it’s a “Beauty and the Beast” weekend again at 4,210 domestic locations — one that should rank as the fourth-largest second weekend of all time, trailing only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $149 million, “Jurassic World” at $106 million and “Marvel’s The Avengers” at $103 million.

This weekend will make “Beauty and the Beast” — starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast — the »


- Dave McNary

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Russia Imposes Age Restriction on ‘Power Rangers’ With Lgbt Character

1 hour ago

The Russian distributor of “Power Rangers” informed theaters on Friday that the film’s age restriction had been bumped up from 16+ to 18+.

Although the distributor did not give a reason for the change, the news comes after it was announced that the film features an Lgbt protagonist. In 2013, Russia passed an anti-gay law that banned “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov — the man behind the controversial bill — reportedly railed against Lionsgate’s reboot of the popular ’90s franchise, and called its director, Dean Israelite, “a scumbag” on the conservative TV network Tsargrad. The Russian Culture Ministry reportedly also took heat from lawmaker Alexei Zhuravlev.

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Power Rangers’ Helmer on Lgbtq Protagonist: ‘We Were Truthful About Representing Teenagers’

In “Power Rangers,” Becky G plays Trini, the Yellow Ranger, who questions her sexuality in a brief moment. “It’s something that I’m really proud of with my character, »


- Seth Kelley

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Colin Farrell in Talks to Star in Tim Burton’s ‘Dumbo’

2 hours ago

Colin Farrell is in talks to star in Tim Burton’s live-action adaptation of “Dumbo” for Disney.

Farrell would play the father of the children who fall in love with the lovable elephant. Will Smith, Chris Pine, and Casey Affleck all passed on the role. Eva Green and Danny DeVito are also in negotiations to join the film.

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Burton is directing from Ehren Kruger’s script. Justin Springer, who worked on “Tron: Legacy,” is producing with Kruger.

The original story followed an ostracized baby circus elephant who strives to achieve his full potential. Burton’s movie will included both live-action and animated elements.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action reboots follows the success of “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” and most recently, “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The Mouse House has remakes of “The Lion King, »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Sinister 2’ Director Ciaran Foy Boards Broad Green’s Horror Movie ‘Eli’

3 hours ago

Sinister 2” director Ciaran Foy has signed on to helm Broad Green Pictures’ horror movie “Eli.”

Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing will rewrite David Chirchirillo’s 2015 Black List script on which the film is based.

The movie, which begins shooting this summer, centers on a young boy who undergoes treatment for a rare disease at a secluded clinic, which becomes a haunted prison with no way out.

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After ‘The Infiltrator’ Fizzles, Broad Green Plots Its Comeback

Trevor Macy producing via his Intrepid Pictures banner. John Zaozirny will also produce for Bellevue Productions, and Gabriel and Daniel Hammond will executive produce for Broad Green. Melinda Nishioka will co-produce for Intrepid.

Foy has several projects in the works at Blumhouse Productions, including “The Shee,” which he will write and direct. Foy’s debut feature was “Citadel,” which premiered at SXSW in 2012 and won the festival’s midnighters audience award. Focus Features »


- Dave McNary

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‘Pretty Woman’: Looking Back at Julia Roberts’ Star-Making Role

4 hours ago

On March 21, 1990, Touchstone Pictures previewed “Pretty Woman” at the Avco Westwood near UCLA, two days before its national launch. Variety columnist Army Archerd reported that laughter drowned out much of the dialogue and young Julia Roberts “is headed for heavy stardom.” In retrospect, that seems like a pretty safe prediction, but Roberts was not well known when she was cast in the film. (She had completed her role as Sally Fields’ daughter in “Steel Magnolias,” but the film hadn’t been released yet). Roberts was only cast in “Pretty Woman” after numerous other actresses had passed on the role, including Meg Ryan, Karen Allen, Molly Ringwald, Diane Lane and Michelle Pfeiffer.

And the project began with a much darker tone; in J.F. Lawton’s original screenplay, streetwalker Vivian (Roberts) agrees to give up cocaine for her week with banker Edward (Richard Gere), but at the end he dumps her back »


- Tim Gray

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Netlflix Lands Motley Crue Biopic ‘The Dirt’

4 hours ago

Netlfix is in final negotiations to acquire the worldwide rights to the long-in-development Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt.”

Jeff Tremaine, who helmed the “Jackass” movies, is directing the film from a script by Rich Wilkes and Tom Kapinos. Julie Yorn, Erik Olsen, and Allen Kovac are producing, while Chris Nilsson, Steve Kline and Rick Yorn are exec producing. Members of the now-retired band are co-producing.

Though Netflix is still in talks for the rights, sources say Liam Hemsworth, Emory Cohen, and Douglas Booth are top choices to play Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, and Tommy Lee, though no official offers have been made yet.

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Based on the 2001 autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” the book follows the group’s rise during the ’80s “hair band” rock scene on the Sunset Strip, and pulls no »


- Justin Kroll

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Adam Sandler to Release Four More Movies on Netflix

4 hours ago

Adam Sandler, the A-list movie star who cleaned up at the ’90s box office with comedic hits such as “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy,” is sticking with Netflix.

The streaming network announced on Friday that it will be financing and producing four more features with Sandler, which will be released exclusively in homes.

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“Love working with Netflix and collaborating with them,” Sandler said in a statement. “I love how passionate they are about making movies and getting them out there for the whole world to see. They’ve made me feel like family and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”

In 2014, Netflix made a big play when it signed Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions to a four-movie deal. Netflix, which doesn’t disclose viewership figures, has said that Sandler’s first two comedies, “The Ridiculous 6” and “The Do-Over,” have »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Nears $500 Million at Worldwide Box Office

5 hours ago

Disney’s blockbuster “Beauty and the Beast” has already topped the $490 million mark at the worldwide box office as it moves into its second weekend.

The live-action musical took in $10.9 million domestically on Thursday, down only 5% from the previous day, to take the seven-day total to $228.6 million — making it one of the top seven opening weeks of all time in North America. Disney noted that the weekday numbers rival those for summer and holidays.

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Box Office: ‘Power Rangers’ No Match for ‘Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast” opened in Australia with $1.6 million on Thursday for the second highest March opening day of all-time behind only “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.” It had already grossed $1.3 million in previews. In Argentina, the film opened to $600,000, the highest opening day of 2017.

Thursday’s international take was $17.8 million, pushing the overseas total to $262 million. China is the leader with $60.3 million, »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Power Rangers’ Surges to $3.6 Million on Thursday

7 hours ago

Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” has launched with a solid $3.6 million at 2,700 North American locations from Thursday night previews.

Sony’s sci-fi thriller “Life” grossed $800,000 from 2,627 preview showings and Warner Bros.’ comedy “Chips’ pulled in $500,000.

Power Rangers,” a reboot of the 1990’s television show about five teenage superheroes, is opening at 3,693 locations Friday with expectations of about $30 million for the weekend. The cast features Becky G. as the Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin as the Black Ranger, Naomi Scott as the Pink Ranger, Dacre Montgomery as the Red Ranger and R.J. Cyler as the Blue Ranger. Elizabeth Banks plays the evil alien witch Rita Repulsa.

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Film Review: ‘Power Rangers

The movie reimagines the origins of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of high schoolers given extraterrestrial powers who unite to save the world. Lionsgate and Haim Saban announced plans in 2014 for a live-action movie based on Saban’s “Power Rangers »


- Dave McNary

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NonStop Acquires Nordic, Baltic Rights to Isis Documentary ‘City of Ghosts’

8 hours ago

NonStop Entertainment has picked up Nordic and Baltic rights to “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s critically acclaimed documentary about the extremist group Islamic State, or Isis.

City of Ghosts” was acquired by Amazon Studios for U.S. distribution out of the Sundance Film Festival and is currently competing at Cph:dox in Copenhagen. It is scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 14.

The documentary charts the rise of Isis, while documenting the courage of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of citizen journalists who risk their lives to shed light on terrorist activities in Syria.

City of Ghosts” marks Heineman’s follow up to “Cartel Land” which was nominated for an Oscar.

NonStop will release the film in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Miracle Films will partner on Danish distribution, with a theatrical release expected in early fall.

NonStop’s new acquisitions also include “Whose Streets,” Sabaah Folayan »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cuban-American Actor Tomas Milian, Italian Genre Movies Star, Dies at 84

8 hours ago

Rome – Versatile Cuban-American-Italian actor Tomas Milian, known for the intensity he brought to disparate roles, whether in dramas by directors like Bernardo Bertolucci and Steven Soderbergh or as the Roman lowlife character that made him a household name in Italy, died Thursday. He was 84.

Milian died of a stroke in his Miami home, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

A Method actor who studied with Lee Strasberg, Milian played in about 120 movies during a career spanning six decades. Most of the films were shot in Italy, where he worked with directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini besides acting in Spaghetti Westerns, cop movies, and the franchise based on his Roman lowlife character “Er Monnezza” (“Mr. Trash”).

Later in his career, Milian moved to the U.S. where, among other films, he appeared in Sydney Pollack’s “Havana,” in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” and played corrupt General Arturo Salazar in Soderbergh’s “Traffic, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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French Government to Back International Series Festival in Lille

11 hours ago

Paris – The French government has decided to back the launch of a new international fest dedicated to series in Lille, in Northern France – the country’s third such event, on top of a recently announced drama festival to be held in Cannes and the high-profile Series Mania festival in Paris. 

The decision to establish a new festival in Lille was taken by a committee specially appointed by the French government and overseen by Audrey Azoulay, the president of the Cnc (National Film Board).

Lille was chosen over Paris, whose Series Mania has already gained international recognition, drawing 40,000 spectators and 1,300 industry professionals in 2016. The upcoming edition of Series Mania will feature world premieres of anticipated shows such as Jim Carrey’s “I’m Dying Up Here,” Adam Price’s “Ride Upon the Storm” and Jimmy McGovern’s “Broken.”

Meanwhile, the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, announced the launch of Cannes International »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cottonwood’s Pre-School Series ‘Ollie & Moon’ Sold to Italy, Finland

12 hours ago

DeAGostini channel Super! in Italy and pubcaster Yle in Finland are the latest buyers on pre-school series “The Ollie & Moon Show,” a Cottonwood Media production distributed by Federation Kids & Family.

The deals add to the show’s global reach of over 150 territories already licensed. Previous key sales include to France Télévisions in France, NBC Sprout in the U.S., Tvo and Knowledge in Canada, Discovery in Latin America, D-Kids in Middle East and North Africa, Vrt in Belgium and Ietv in Israel.

An edutainment short-format series, “Ollie” follows a couple of six-year-old globe-trotting cats on a world tour, introducing to kids the joys of unlikely friendships, global citizenship, memorable adventures and new food, language, cities, and customs.

“These new acquisitions just go to show that good storytelling and magnetic characters are truly universal,” said Monica Levy, senior VP, co-production and sales at Federation Kids & Family, a joint-venture launched in 2015 by »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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Film Review: ‘Bokeh’

13 hours ago

“Last people on Earth” movies are practically a genre in themselves, having begun as a reaction to 1950s atom-bomb anxiety (“On the Beach,” “Five”), then remained a sporadic presence in all subsequent waves of screen sci-fi, including environmental and zombie apocalypses. “Bokeh” belongs to the category’s least populist corner, in which the catastrophic event itself is not depicted and/or left entirely mysterious, with the focus on the few survivors. and how they manage — or fail — to carry on after civilization’s end.

Movies of this stripe (like “Glen and Randa,” “The Quiet Earth” or, more recently, “The Road”) are bound to frustrate those anticipating any conventional fantasy thrills, while instead aiming to provide the abstract rewards of a speculative mood piece. That’s likely to be the reaction to “Bokeh,” which takes its name from the photographic term for blurry parts of a picture produced by variable lens focus. »


- Dennis Harvey

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Galaxy Weiying Receives Additional Investment

14 hours ago

Galaxy Weiying Entertainment, the Hong Kong-based investment vehicle that last week revealed a stake in Paramount’s “Ghost in the Shell,” has received an additional cash injection.

The capital has come from family-controlled Huang’s Entertainment. The value of the injection was not disclosed.

Galaxy Weiying is a joint venture between Beijing Weiying Technology, one of China’s leading online ticketing firms, and investor Johnny Hsu. Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China, is an adviser to the fund. Hsu heads Lead Capital, a mergers and acquisitions boutique.

Weiying has moved upstream into film production and investment and aims to make use of its massive access to big data from its cinema-booking services and relationships with other companies, including messaging platform WeChat. In the summer of last year it launched Chinese production company Nextainment. With a more international investment outlook, Galaxy Weiying was established in December.

Galaxy Weiying says »


- Patrick Frater

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SXSW Film Review: ‘The Work’

17 hours ago

Locked away in Folsom State Prison, the tough, tattooed men seen in “The Work” are serving heavy-duty time, in some cases multiple life sentences, for violent crimes. Most will never be released, and yet, as we discover via Jairus McLeary’s remarkable vérité portrait — winner of the SXSW documentary competition — a handful of these maximum-security inmates are committed to mastering their tempers, getting in touch with their emotions, and making an effort to help outsiders do the same.

Pushing its cameras past the gates, past the guards, and even past the imaginary emotional barriers its subjects erected years ago in order to deal with their personal demons, “The Work” brings audiences into the “Inside Circle,” an intensive four-day group therapy program where society’s worst offenders interact with individuals from the free world. It’s not hard to imagine the benefit messed-up convicts might see in addressing their issues; less clear, »


- Peter Debruge

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