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‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Director’s Karl Marx Film Lands at The Orchard

42 minutes ago

The Orchard has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Raoul Peck’s historical drama “The Young Karl Marx” for a theatrical release in the fall.

Peck was nominated this year for an Academy Award for the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.”

“The Young Karl Marx” premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Directed, produced, and co-written by Peck (with Pascal Bonitzer), the film stars August Diehl, Stefan Konarske, and Vicky Krieps. The producers are Nicolas Blanc, Remi Grellety, Robert Guediguian, and Peck.

“The Young Karl Marx” explores the origins of the international Socialist movement, the emergence of the Communist League, and its founding document, the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Peck said, “A few years back, while the world was going through yet another financial crisis, I felt the need to go back to the basics: The analysis of the violent capitalist society we are still embedded in, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Scarlett Johannson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

1 hour ago

In “Ghost in the Shell,” the mind and soul of a brilliant original being are extracted, preserved, and rehoused in a sleek, expensively built, technologically advanced new body, enhancing her original abilities at some cost to her identity. That’s the premise, of course, of the cult manga created by Masamune Shirow in 1989, but it’s also an apt enough description of what has happened with director Rupert Sanders’ fast, flashy, frequently ravishing live-action transmutation.

Spectacularly honoring the spirit and aesthetic of Mamoru Oshii’s beloved animated adaptations without resorting wholly to slavish cosplay, this is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement — even if a measure of their eerie, melancholic spirit hasn’t quite carried over to the immaculate new carapace. Box office returns should be muscular, minting what could be one of the more enticing franchises »


- Guy Lodge

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Michael Bay in Talks to Develop ‘Hunting El Chapo’ Film Adaptation at Sony

2 hours ago

Michael Bay is in talks to develop the film adaptation of “Hunting El Chapo” as Sony Pictures closes a deal for the rights to the book.

Written by Cole Merrell and Douglas Century, “Hunting El Chapo: The Thrilling Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captures the World’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord” follows the manhunt for the Mexican drug cartel leader. Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — aka “El Chapo” — evaded capture for more than a decade before being caught and finally extradited to the U.S. last year.

A deal hasn’t been completed yet, but sources tell Variety that negotiations are underway for Bay to come on board, though it’s unknown if he would direct or just produce the project.

The book will be published in October. 3 Arts’ Will Rowbotham and Richard Abate are producing. 3 Arts repped the book. »


- Justin Kroll

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Film Review: ‘A Woman, a Part’

2 hours ago

There’s a certain breed of life-size, bare-bones independent movie that consists of nothing more than ordinary people hanging out in plainly lit rooms talking to each other, and it’s a lot harder to bring off than it looks. If a filmmaker slides too far in the direction of threadbare naturalism, he or she can end up with a movie that’s rudderless. (A drama about boredom shouldn’t be boring, etc.) On the other hand, if a filmmaker tries to goose the minimalism with too much repartee, it can sound clanking and false, like a Cassavetes film that secretly yearned to be a sitcom. Occasionally, you see a low-budget indie drama that strikes the perfect balance — the best of the mumblecore films of 10 to 15 years ago, say, or what Kelly Reichardt brought off in the final third of “Certain Women.”

Elizabeth Subrin, the writer-director of “A Woman, a Part” (her first feature), hits that kind of balance. She has made a movie that unfolds organically, and seems no more driven by narrative concerns than a cat playing with a ball of yarn. Yet “A Woman, a Part” knows how to hold an audience, and it’s got a fresh, if commercially limited, subject: What happens when hipsters get old. »


- Owen Gleiberman

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CinemaCon: STX Touts Luc Besson’s Sci-Fier ‘Valerian’ as a Blockbuster

2 hours ago

Two-year-old Stx Entertainment is stepping up to the big league as it touts Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” as a blockbuster.

“Valerian” was the centerpiece of Stx’s second-ever presentation Tuesday at CinemaCon with footage from a new trailer and in-person appearances by Besson and star Cara Delevingne, who portrays Laureline, with Stx Motion Picture Group Chairman Adam Fogelson. The movie opens July 21 against Warner Bros.Dunkirk,” directed by Christopher Nolan, and Universal’s comedy “Girls Trip.”

Stx agreed in January to market and distribute “Valerian” for EuropaCorp Films USA as part of a new, three-year agreement between the two studios — essentially taking the film over from Relativity Media’s bankruptcy and troubled attempts to regain its financial footing.

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Luc Besson, Lexus Co-Pilot Design on ‘Valerian’ Spacecraft

The trailer, which will be released Wednesday, launched with a desert chase scene with »


- Dave McNary

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Billy Zane, Alan Ritchson, Kyle Gallner, Shaun Toub Join ‘Ghosts of War’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Kyle Gallner, Alan Ritchson, Billy Zane, and Shaun Toub have joined the cast of “Ghosts of War,” an upcoming psychological thriller. The film follows five American soldiers tasked with guarding a French chateau at the end of World War II. The home was previously occupied by Nazi commanders, and the soldiers soon find that there is a terrifying, supernatural force within its walls.

The actors join a cast that includes Brenton Thwaites (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”), Theo Rossi (“Sons of Anarchy”), and Skylar Astin of the Pitch Perfect franchise. The five soldiers will be played by Thwaites, Rossi, Astin, Gallner, and Ritchson. Zane will play an undisclosed role. Toub’s character is called Mr. Helwig.

Eric Bress (“The Butterfly Effect”) writes and directs the film. Principal photography has commenced in Bulgaria. Miscellaneous Entertainment’s D. Todd Shepherd, Shelley Madison, and Joe Simpson are producing and »


- Brent Lang

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Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg Plan to Make Action Movie ‘Mile 22’ a Trilogy

3 hours ago

In a surprise announcement at CinemaCon on Tuesday, Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg declared they are moving ahead with “Mile 22” as an action franchise at Stx Entertainment.

Wahlberg described the project as “an intelligent, adult action film” and said he and Berg want to make the first film as the start of a trilogy. “I still don’t feel like I have the movie, the role, that defines me,” he added.

The duo, who were brought on stage by Stx Chairman Adam Fogelson but did not give details on how soon the project might go into production. Wahlberg noted that Fogelson had been key in getting him his first major comedy role in “Ted,” while Fogelson was running Universal.

Wahlberg and Berg have collaborated on “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriots Day.” Berg directed and produced all three while Wahlberg was a producer on all three.

Wahlberg will be »


- Dave McNary

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‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Animated Film in the Works at STX

4 hours ago

Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice are working on an animated version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for Stx. The announcement was made during CinemaCon 2017 on Tuesday.

more to come…

Related storiesMovie Theater Industry's Top Lobbyist Knocks Trump-Style Economic PoliciesCinemaCon: Fandango Adds More Than 1,000 New ScreensImax, Warner Bros. Making 'Justice League,' 'Aquaman' Virtual Reality Experiences »


- Dave McNary

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Robert Rodriguez to Direct ‘Ugly Dolls’ Animated Film for STX

4 hours ago

Robert Rodriguez has come on board to direct and produce the animated film “Ugly Dolls” for STX Entertainment.

The pic — the studio’s first animated release — hits theaters on May 10, 2019.

Stx made the announcement on Tuesday during its annual presentation at CinemaCon, the exhibition industry trade show in Las Vegas. Rodriguez appeared in taped footage showing the initial concept art.

The film, based on the children’s toy line Uglydoll, has been in the works since 2015 — when the company first announced that the movie would launch its family and animation division. The popular characters include Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat, and Wedgehead. David Horvath and Sun-Min Ki created Uglydoll in 2001.

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Robert Rodriguez in Talks to Direct ‘Escape From New York’ Remake

“We created Uglydoll on the premise that real beauty is found in the little twists and turns that make us who we are,” Horvath said back in 2015. “We could not »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Oscilloscope Takes North American Rights to Berlinale Winner ‘Summer 1993’ (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American rights to Carla Simon’s “Summer 1993,” which won the best first feature prize at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

The Spanish film also took home the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus section for young people’s cinema in Berlin. It recently screened at the Malaga Film Festival of Spanish-Language Cinema, where it won the Golden Biznaga for best Spanish film. Oscilloscope will release the film theatrically in late 2017.

“Six-year-old Frida looks on in silence as the last objects from her recently deceased mother’s apartment in Barcelona are placed in boxes. Although her aunt, uncle, and younger cousin Anna welcome her with open arms, it’s only very slowly that Frida begins to get used to her new home in the countryside,” according to a statement.

“Punctuated by moments of youthful exuberance and mature ruminations, this coming-of-age drama, set amongst summery hues, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Rooney Mara Is Haunted by Casey Affleck in ‘A Ghost Story’ Trailer (Watch)

6 hours ago

A24 has released a trailer for the sparse — and scare-free — Rooney Mara-Casey Affleck  supernatural drama “A Ghost Story,” four months before it opens on July 7.

The clip is a meditative exploration that shows a distraught Mara dealing with the tragedy of her deceased spouse, often manifested as a simple ghost in a bed sheet.

“When I was little we used to move all the time,” Mara says. “I would write these notes, and I would fold them really small and I would hide them.”

“What did they say?” Affleck asks.

“They were just things I wanted to remember so if I ever wanted to go back, there would be a piece of me waiting,” Mara responds.

The film, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place almost entirely in a single house in Texas with a ghost wearing the bed sheet after Affleck’s character dies in a car accident. »


- Dave McNary

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Anne Hathaway’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Remake Finds Director

6 hours ago

Chris Addison has closed a deal to direct MGM’s “Nasty Women,” the “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” remake starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.

The movie marks Addison’s big-screen directorial debut. Jac Schaeffer will write the screenplay.

Cave 76 Productions’ Roger Birnbaum and Wilson’s Camp Sugar Productions are producing.

Related

Rebel Wilson to Star in ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Remake (Exclusive)

The film gender-reverses the 1988 Frank Oz-directed comedy classic that starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine as con men who try to swindle an heiress. The ’80s film was itself a reboot of Ralph Levy’s 1964 movie “Bedtime Story,” starring Marlon Brando, David Niven, and Shirley Jones.

Nasty Women” follows two female scam artists, one low-rent and the other high-class, who compete to swindle a naive tech prodigy out of his fortune. The title calls to mind Donald Trump’s insult to Hillary Clinton during the final presidential debate, a »


- Justin Kroll

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Independent Movie Distributors Blue Fox, Level 33 Merging (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Independent movie sales-distribution companies Blue Fox Entertainment and Level 33 Entertainment have merged operations, Variety has learned exclusively.

The new company will operate under the brand Blue Fox Entertainment and will release content across all platforms in North America through Level 33’s distribution infrastructure. The new company plans to distribute 20 theatrical titles a year and will also develop “higher profile” projects.

Level 33 will continue to manage films from its existing library. Blue Fox will also handle sales and direct distribution in specific international territories.

“Technology is only making the world smaller as a greater variety of content is being made available globally almost instantaneously,” said Level 33 CEO Andreas Olavarria. “We are excited to partner with the respected Blue Fox team in providing an exceptional worldwide distribution solution to quality content.”

Blue Fox was launched in 2015 by Todd Slater and James Huntsman and has sold over 30 titles since including “Big Bear, »


- Dave McNary

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CinemaCon: Fandango Adds More Than 1,000 New Screens

8 hours ago

Online ticket seller Fandango has added more than 1,000 new screens in the U.S., raising its domestic screen count to 29,000, and more than 32,000 screens globally.

The company, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, said Tuesday at CinemaCon that it has added U.S. exhibitors including B&B Theatres, the country’s seventh largest exhibitor; Atlas Cinemas, D’Place Entertainment, Eclipse Theaters, Evo Entertainment Group, Main Street Theatres, Phoenix Theatres Entertainment, Silverspot Cinema and Southeast Cinemas Entertainment.

Fandango said the new chains will strengthen coverage in the South and the Midwest. The company said its ticketing increased more than 30% in 2016 year-over-year and is up 28% to date in the first quarter of 2017.

Fandango is also launching FanShop, its first digital marketplace for movie merchandise and experiences, in April. It announced Monday a new global brand strategy for Latin America to give the company a unified presence across the continents.

Fandango made its first move »


- Dave McNary

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‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ Star Darlene Cates Dies at 69

8 hours ago

Darlene Cates, known for playing the mother in “What's Eating Gilbert Grape,” has died. She was 69.

Cates’ daughter, Sheri Cates Morgan, announced in a Facebook post that her mother died “peacefully in her sleep” on Sunday morning.

“We take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father, breaking away only to dance with our Savior, Jesus,” the daughter wrote. “(Dancing was something she talked about loving to do ‘back in the day’!)” »


- Seth Kelley

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‘California Typewriter’: Documentary Featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer Gets Late Summer Release

9 hours ago

Gravitas Ventures has bought U.S. rights to the documentary “California Typewriter,” which will open the 41st Cleveland International Film Festival on Wednesday.

California Typewriter,” which premiered at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival, will open theatrically in Los Angeles, New York and a dozen additional markets in the late summer.

The title is derived from one of the last remaining typewriter shops, located in Berkeley, Calif., which plays a major role in the film. Run by Herbert Permillion III and his family, the business is shown attempting to balance financial security with its decades-long passion for selling and restoring typewriters.

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Tom Hanks to Publish Debut Short Story Collection

Director Doug Nichol made the self-funded film over a period of five years. “The film was a real labor of love for everyone involved and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Gravitas and their team,” he said.

The »


- Dave McNary

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Spider-Man and Iron Man Save a Sinking Ship in New ‘Homecoming’ Trailer (Watch)

9 hours ago

Peter Parker gets some tough love from Tony Stark in the new trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” released Tuesday morning.

“So, to become an Avenger, are there like trials or an interview?” Tom Holland’s Spider-Man asks Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

“Do me a favor — can’t you just be a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man? Just stay close to the ground,” he responds.

But Spider-Man does no such thing. When the Staten Island Ferry is attacked, the young hero, who is just coming into his powers, tries to save the sinking vessel. But Stark in his Iron Man suit swoops in at the last moment to save the day.

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Tom Holland on ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ Spinoffs, and Planning for Bathroom Breaks

What if somebody had died?” Stark later asks Parker. “I was just trying to be like you,” the high-school hero responds.

The footage, first teased at CinemaCon on Monday, »


- Seth Kelley

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Imax, Warner Bros. Making ‘Justice League,’ ‘Aquaman’ Virtual Reality Experiences

10 hours ago

If virtual reality is truly the new frontier that the entertainment industry hopes it will be, then Warner Bros. and Imax want to be among the pioneers.

The two companies have signed a co-financing and production agreement that will create three interactive Vr experiences based on upcoming Warner Bros. releases. The include “Justice League” and “Aquaman,” two upcoming installments in the studio’s DC Comics movie universe, and a third, yet-to-be announced, project.

For Imax, the push into virtual reality represents a chance to diversify its business. The company is mainly in the business of screening big studio blockbusters and installing its massive theater complexes around the world. Its brand has become synonymous with a certain kind of fanboy entertainment, but that hasn’t always translated into massive revenues. For the fourth quarter of 2016, for instance, Imax made $106.9 million in revenue, a 10% drop from the year-earlier period.

Related

IMAX Unveils »


- Brent Lang

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Female Smurf Erased From Billboard in Religious Israeli City

10 hours ago

A billboard for the newest Smurfs film in a religious Israeli city has left many commentators in the Jewish state feeling blue.

Promotional posters for “Smurfs: The Lost Village” were unveiled across Israel on Sunday, but in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox enclave just outside of Tel Aviv, the usual image of four blue humanoids had a very deliberate tweak: Smurfette, the lone female of the bunch, had been erased.

Ultra-religious Jewish males are forbidden to look upon images of women, and in Israel’s most devout communities, depictions of women are routinely cropped out of newspapers, catalogues and advertisements. During the U.S. presidential election, religious news sites in Israel ran coverage without any images of Hillary Clinton. Earlier this year, the local arm of Swedish furniture giant Ikea came under fire from some Israelis for distributing a special version of its catalogue with only men and boys in its »


- Debra Kamin

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MipTV: Filmax Develops Pau Freixas Dramedy ‘Welcome to the Family’ (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

Barcelona– Julio Fernández’s Barcelona-based Filmax Ent. is developing its next big TV play, the 13-hour TV series “Welcome to the Family,” which will be presented at next week’s MipTV to potential buyers and co-production partners.

Negotiations with a Spanish broadcaster to co-produce “Welcome to the Family” are under way.

A choral dramedy, “Family” centers on Angela, a victim of Spain’s recent economical turndown, who sees how the bank forecloses on her house. A solution might be her estranged multimillionaire father, Eduardo. But the reunion ends in a bitter row, her father collapsing and dying. Fearful that they will see nothing from him, Angela and her family set out to locate his will. Meanwhile, just in case, they hide the corpse.

Welcome to the Family” is “a bit in the line of ‘Red Band Society’ with a similar mix of feeling, a sense of fondness and family warmth, »


- Emilio Mayorga

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