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

6 hours ago

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

9 hours ago

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

13 hours ago

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

15 hours ago

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.

Related

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’

17 hours ago

“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.

Related

Celebrities Who Died in 2017

“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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Oscars: Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott Race to the Finish

18 August 2017 12:04 PM, PDT

It wouldn’t be awards season without a little bit of drama around last-minute contenders sprinting to the finish line. This year, there are three major prestige projects based on true events from powerhouse directors that could really shake up the race.

Steven Spielberg’s “The Papers” — about the Washington Post, the Pentagon Papers, and a watershed moment in the history of press freedom — wasn’t even a go until a week after “Moonlight” won the best picture Oscar earlier this year. The Fox production shot throughout the summer and wrapped in July, aiming for a Dec. 22 limited release. It’s packed with an all-star cast, including Meryl Streep (as Post publisher Katharine Graham), Tom Hanks (as editor Ben Bradlee, a role that won Jason Robards an Oscar in 1977 for “All the President’s Men”), and Carrie Coon (as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Meg Greenfield), among many others.

Meanwhile, Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Geena Davis on Hollywood Sexism and Wanting to Be in ‘Wonder Woman 2’

18 August 2017 11:29 AM, PDT

Oscar winner Geena Davis has spent more than a decade pushing Hollywood to create meatier roles for women.

Through the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a non-profit research organization, she’s been urging film and television executives to have as many girls as boys in children’s entertainment. The actress thinks the industry is turning a corner, and she believes that hits like “Wonder Woman” are changing things for the better across the media business.

Of course Davis, whose credits include “Thelma & Louise” and “A League of Their Own,” still has a day job. She’s back on screen this weekend in “Marjorie Prime,” as a woman who tries to comfort her ailing mother (Lois Smith) by enlisting a holographic projection of her late husband (Jon Hamm) to keep her company. The film asks big questions about memory and technology, and it’s earning Davis some of the strongest reviews of her career. She »


- Brent Lang

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‘Super Troopers 2’ Lands Spring 2018 Release Date

18 August 2017 11:24 AM, PDT

Fox Searchlight has set an April 20, 2018, release date for “Super Troopers 2” — 17 years after the original.

Jay Chandrasekhar is directing the comedy sequel, as he did on the original. Filmmaking team Broken Lizard raised $4.4 million in a 30-day crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2015 that saw more than 50,000 contributors. It was one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a movie along with the $5.7 million raised by fans for the “Veronica Mars” movie starring Kristen Bell.

Donation incentives for “Super Tropers 2” on the first day included a producer title for $10,000, a speaking actor role for $10,000, a trip to the ballpark with the main actors for $15,000, and the patrol car to be used in the filming for $35,000. “Super Troopers 2” met the initial goal of $2 million (set by Fox Searchlight) in 26 hours.

Super Troopers 2” reunites all five Troopers from the original film — Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. The »


- Dave McNary

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‘Girls Trip’ Crosses $100 Million at Domestic Box Office

18 August 2017 10:46 AM, PDT

Universal Pictures’ “Girls Trip” has crossed the $100 million mark at the domestic box office after four weeks, to become the studio’s sixth film to reach that milestone this year.

Girls Trip” has also taken in $9.9 million internationally as it starts its foreign rollout. Australia and Romania will release the film on Aug. 31, with additional markets launching the film through the end of the year.

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Summer Box Office Report Card: From Disney to Universal, Grading Popcorn Season

Girls Trip” debuted behind “Dunkirk” with a surprisingly strong $31.2 million at the North American box office over its opening weekend on July 21 to July 23, making it the highest-grossing opening for a live-action comedy of the year. It dropped only 36% in its second weekend.

Girls Trip” broke the summer’s streak of underperforming R-rated comedies such as “Rough Night” and “The House.” Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, and Jada Pinkett Smith star as four friends attending the Essence Music »


- Dave McNary

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Alpha Violet Acquires Juraj Lehotsky’s Toronto-Bound ‘Nina’ (Exclusive)

18 August 2017 10:44 AM, PDT

Paris-based Alpha Violet has acquired worldwide sales rights to Slovakian director Juraj Lehotsky’s divorce drama “Nina” which will play at Toronto in the Contemporary World Cinema section.

Lehotsky’s second feature, “Nina” turns on a 12-year-old girl whose parents are getting a divorce. As her world falls apart in front of her eyes, the young girl seeks out refuge in competitive swimming.

The movie world premiered at Karlovy Vary, where it earned warm reviews. The film’s star, Bibiana Nováková, has been acclaimed for her performance as Nina, which marks her first role.

An up-and-coming filmmaker, Lehotsky previously directed the documentary feature “Blind Loves,” which premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, where it won the C.I.C.A.E Art Cinema Award.

Lehotsky’s feature debut, “Miracle,” premiered at Karlovy Vary and earned Special Jury Mention.

Alpha Violet’s current slate also includes Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino’s dystopian drama “Crater” and Natalia Garagiola’s »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher to Star in ‘Shaft’ Sequel

18 August 2017 10:33 AM, PDT

After originally planning a full reboot of the ’70s classic, New Line is reverting back to a familiar formula for the next installment of “Shaft,” while also leaving the door open for a new face to take over the franchise.

Sources tell Variety that Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations to reprise his role of the titular character with “Survivor’s Remorse” star Jessie T. Usher in talks to play Jackson’s son in the film.

Tim Story is directing a script from “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris.

The original 1971 version — based on Ernest Tidyman’s novel — starred Richard Roundtree as a smooth private detective who’s hired by a drug lord to find his kidnapped daughter. The character became a pop culture icon and the theme song, written by Isaac Hayes, went on to win an Oscar.

Paramount Pictures rebooted the film in 2002 with Samuel L. Jackson taking over the role, and »


- Justin Kroll

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Sanfic: ‘Penal Cordillera,’ ‘Los Colonos,’ ‘The Monster Within’ Make Santiago Lab Forum Cut

18 August 2017 10:05 AM, PDT

Felipe Carmona’s “Penal Cordillera,” Felipe Galvez’s “Los Colonos” and Rodrigo Susarte’s “The Monster Within” are three of the 20 fiction feature projects which will be pitched at next week’s Santiago Lab in Chile, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival’s major industry forum for feature film projects.

In a major departure, for the first time, the Lab has opened up from just Chilean projects to titles from the whole of Ibero-America – Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

In one of building links between two powerhouse nations in Latin American arthouse movie production, Chile’s Felipe Carmona, a playwright-director, is teaming with Argentine talent-to-track Alejandro Fadel – director of Cannes 2012 Critics’ Week Acid prize winner “The Wild Ones” and co-scribe of Pablo Trapero’s “Lion’s Den,” “Carancho” and “White Elephant” – to write the screenplay of “Penal Cordillera,” which is set up at Chile’s Cinestación and El Otro Film.

Based on true events, “Penal »


- John Hopewell

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Brendan Gleeson on Getting a Late Start on His Career

18 August 2017 10:00 AM, PDT

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson made his film debut in 1990’s “The Field,” starring Richard Harris and based on the play by John B. Keane. Five years later, he made an impact internationally as Hamish Campbell in Mel Gibson’s Oscar winner “Braveheart.” Since then, film lovers have seen the versatile thesp in a wide range of blockbusters and indie films. “Harry Potter” aficionados know him as Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody, and fans have treasured his work in such fare as John Boorman’s “The General,” John Michael McDonagh’s “Calvary” and Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” and for his Emmy-winning turn as Winston Churchill in TV film “Into the Storm.”

Now on-screen as Detective Bill Hodges in the new Stephen King neo-noir TV series, “Mr. Mercedes,” Gleeson was first noticed by Variety on Aug. 1, 1990, for his performance in Dublin in Keane’s play “The Year of the Hiker.”

John B. Keane »


- Steven Gaydos

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