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

1 hour 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.

Related

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 7 European Markets

2 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’

3 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)

4 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’

4 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.

Related

Anne Hathaway Producing, Starring in Romantic Comedy for Stx

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

4 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

6 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

7 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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Film Review: ‘Mon Mon Mon Monsters’

9 hours ago

All the monsters are in plain sight in “Mon Mon Mon Monsters,” a savagely funny social horror movie about high school teens who capture a flesh-eating ghoul and torture it for their own amusement — and then some. The highly imaginative brainchild of popular Taiwanese author and filmmaker Giddens Ko, “Monsters” paints a disturbing picture of contemporary youth culture while delivering gruesome sights that’ll have horror hounds howling in approval. Though slim in analyzing of what has driven these kids to such extremes, Ko’s vividly decorated and atmospherically filmed exercise in nihilistic horror is a mighty fine ride for those who like this sort of thing. Opening in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore on July 28, the film already has several international fest dates planned, which bodes well for commercial prospects outside the region.

Admirers of Ko’s 2011 debut, a delightful romantic comedy called “You Are the Apple of My Eye,” may »


- Richard Kuipers

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Locarno: Swiss Dominik Locher’s ‘Goliath’ Scooped Up by Wide Management (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

Driving into new talent, Loic Magneron’s Paris-based Wide Management has swooped on world sales rights to Dominik Locher’s “Goliath,” the only majority-Swiss film in main competition at this year’s Locarno, Switzerland’s biggest film festival.

Deal excludes Switzerland and is non-exclusive for Germany.

World premiering at Locarno, where Wide, a fixture at the Swiss Festival, will introduce the title to buyers, “Goliath” turns on David (Sven Schelker), a twentysomething who breaks out in panic when girlfriend Jessy (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) tells him that she’s pregnant.

When both are assaulted in a city train and David fails to protect Jessy, his fears of inadequacy as a man take hold, according to the film’s synopsis. Frantic, David inject steroids, work out at the gym, builds his body, self confidence but soon tendency to violence. For Jessy and the unborn child, he becomes a threat.

“After a physical shakedown my insecure protagonist struggles to find »


- John Hopewell and Emiliano Granada

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Film Movement Checks Into ‘Hotel Salvation’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

New York-based independent distributor, Film Movement has secured U.S. and Canadian rights for Indian festival title “Hotel Salvation.” Written and directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, the Hindi-language film follows a son faced with his father’s untimely demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi and attain salvation. It stars Adil Hussain (“Life of Pi”), Lalit Behl (“Titli”), Geetanjali Kulkarni (“Court”), and Palomi Ghosh.

Sajida Sharma and Sanjay Bhutiani produced for India’s Red Carpet Moving Pictures with a $165,000 (€150,000) grant from Venice’s Biennale College and a post-production package worth $56,000 from Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund. The completed film premiered at Venice in 2016, where it won the Grand Prix Enrico Fulchignoni and the Unesco Gandhi Medal.

The film has sold widely in other territories it was licensed by the British Film Institute for the U.K. and Ireland, the Dubai International Film Festival for the Middle East, Bitters End for Japan, »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Film Review: ‘The Gracefield Incident’

11 hours ago

Though the original “Blair Witch Project” will be coming up on its 20th anniversary soon enough (and “Paranormal Activity” just celebrated its 10th), its curse is still very much with us — that being the curse of the found-footage horror movie, which for every revivifying new example still brings us half a dozen or more films like “The Gracefield Incident,” which recycle genre cliches through an exhausted gimmick deployed strictly for cost-cutting rather than imaginative reasons. There are some unintentional laughs to be had from this hectic, silly, defiantly un-scary mashup of stock “cabin in the woods” and alien-invasion formulae. But that dubious plus won’t be enough to soften the scorn of horror fans who plunk down hard cash for this feeble, somewhat amateurish if enthusiastic retread.

Video-game editor Matthew (producer, writer, director, editor and star Mathieu Ratthe) is driving along with pregnant wife Jessica (Kimberly Laferriere) when they suffer a collision — seemingly due to their oblivious »


- Dennis Harvey

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Memento Films International’s Artscope Boards Ilian Metev’s Locarno-Bound ‘3/4’ (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Artscope, Paris-based Memento Films Intl.’s label for new talent, has boarded Ilian Metev’s eagerly-awaited “3/4,” his follow-up to “Sofia’s Last Ambulance,” which won the France 4 Visionary Award at the 2012 Cannes Critics’ Week.

Set to world premiere early August in the Locarno Cineasts of the Present, the Swiss festival’s more cutting-edge section for younger directors, “3/4” marks Metev’s move into fiction –  though it is said to still very much rooted in the observational documentary approach used winningly in “Sofia’s Last Ambulance.”

Written by Metev and Betina Ip, his editor on “Sofia’s Last Ambulance” and partner at Bulgaria’s Chaconna Films, “3/4”stars an ensemble of non-professional actors, led by Mila Mihova, Nikolay Mashalov and Todor Velchev, who took part in a year-long workshops to create “3/4’s” portrait of a family spending its last summer together.

In “3/4,” Mila, a young pianist, prepares for an audition abroad. Her brother, Niki, »


- John Hopewell

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Esai Morales Urges ‘No’ Vote on SAG-aftra Contract

15 hours ago

SAG-aftra presidential candidate Esai Morales has urged members of the performers union to vote down the proposed tentative agreement on a three-year successor deal to its master contract.

Morales contends that the pact, which has been sent out to the 160,000 members for ratification, falls far short of what performers need. Ratification ballots will be counted on Aug. 7.

“The nominal gains in this agreement do not match the cost of living increases in the real world,” Morales said in a video posted Wednesday on the Membership First group’s Facebook page. “Send them back to the table.”

Related

SAG-aftra National Board OKs TV-Film Deal, Triggers Ratification Vote

Morales detailed problems with changes in the travel costs, basic cable, motion-capture, and background players, asserting that SAG-aftra leaders had promised to rectify perceived abuses and have failed to do so.

He also questioned why the union leadership reached a deal at 6 a.m. on »


- Dave McNary

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‘Fate of the Furious’ Speeds to No. 1 on Disc Charts

16 hours ago

“Fate of the Furious,” the latest installment in Universal Pictures’ successful “Fast & Furious” franchise, debuted at No. 1 on both sales charts the week that ended July 16, with Sony Pictures’ “Smurfs: The Lost Village” a distant second.

“Fate” is the eighth film in the franchise and, with a domestic gross of more than $225 million, the third-highest earner in U.S. theaters. The film sold four times as many copies as the newest “Smurfs” film, a reboot of the cartoon that made less than $45 million at the domestic box office.

The arrival of the two new releases sent Walt Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” to No. 3 on both the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

Lionsgate’s “Saban’s Power Rangers” slipped to No. 4 after two weeks at No. 1 on the overall chart.

Rounding out the top five, also »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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BiFan Film Review: ‘I’ll Just Live in Bando’

18 hours ago

A middle-aged actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown is the engaging central character of “I’ll Just Live in Bando,” the promising feature debut of South Korean indie animator Lee Yong-sun. Pivoting on a deep moral dilemma faced by the protagonist, this low-budget labor of love is dotted with wry humor and will resonate with mature audiences who likely won’t care about, and may even warmly embrace, Lee’s old-school animation technique. Berths at the prestigious Annecy and Ottawa animation fests bode well for the film’s prospects of further international exposure. A limited local release is planned for early 2018.

With an absurdly low $42,000 at his disposal, Lee has wisely invested in getting his script right in the first place and then placing visual emphasis on character design and facial expressions. Background detail and body movement are on the basic side of things, but this has no detrimental effect on the film’s overall »


- Richard Kuipers

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‘Dark Tower’ Director Nikolaj Arcel Joins Matt Damon’s Robert F. Kennedy Movie

19 hours ago

Matt Damon’s Robert F. Kennedy biopic “Rfk” has picked up momentum as “The Dark Tower” director Nikolaj Arcel has signed on to direct Damon in the Warner Bros. project.

Arcel will direct from a script he co-wrote with Rasmus Heisterberg and Felipe Marino. Damon will produce with Jennifer Todd and Drew Vinton. Production is expected to start next year.

Kennedy ran the successful 1960 presidential campaign for his brother, John F. Kennedy, and served as U.S. Attorney General and top adviser to his brother between 1961 and 1963. He remained in the post for President Lyndon B. Johnson for several months after his brother’s assassination, then resigned to run for the U.S. Senate, representing New York.

Kennedy served until his assassination in June, 1968, while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination on a platform of ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

The last day of Kennedy’s life was recapped in the 2006 film “Bobby,” directed »


- Dave McNary

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J.C. Spink Had Fentanyl and Cocaine in His System When He Died

19 hours ago

Producer J.C. Spink had fentanyl and traces of cocaine in his system when he died in April, according to a coroner’s report released on Wednesday.

The coroner’s office determined that Spink, who produced the “Hangover” franchise, died of an accidental drug overdose.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller, is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It is deadly even in small doses, and was also blamed in Prince’s death in April 2016. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently warned of a dramatic proliferation of fentanyl deaths.

The coroner’s report states that Spink had a history of prescription drug abuse and was known to binge drink and “self-medicate with marijuana.” He also had a history of sleep apnea, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. He was obese as well, weighing 296 pounds, according to the report.

Spink was found unconscious at his home in West Hollywood on April 18 at 7 p.m. »


- Gene Maddaus

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‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ Remake in the Works at Warner Bros.

21 hours ago

Warner Bros. has launched a remake of the classic science-fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and set the project up with producer John Davis.

The Conjuring 2” screenwriter David Leslie Johnson has been tapped to write the script.

The original 1956 movie is based on Jack Finney’s 1954  novel “The Body Snatchers” in which the small California town of Mill Valley is invaded by aliens plant pods, which replicate humans as they sleep. The resulting replicants have no emotion.

The movie, set in the fictional California town of Santa Mira and shot in less than three weeks in black and white in Sierra Madre, Glendale, Chatsworth and Los Felix, ended with the aliens taking over. It was produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel and starred Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers” grossed $3 million in its initial release and grew in critical stature to the point that it was selected in 1994 for »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Battles ‘Girls Trip,’ While ‘Valerian’ Looks to Sputter

23 hours ago

Dunkirk” is ready for battle against a duo of 28th century special operatives, and a gaggle of wild women on a weekend getaway.

During a rare summer weekend that brings three non-sequel, non-franchise (at least … not yet) movies to theaters, Christopher Nolan’s latest looks to end up on top. The latest estimates put “Dunkirk” between $30 million and $35 million during its opening weekend. Those aren’t numbers that warrant a standing ovation — especially for a production with a speculated $150 million budget — but Warner Bros. is playing the long game.

Critics have come out in force for the World War II movie, earning it a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and starting the awards season conversation early. After all, July is not a typical Oscar-bait date, but this weekend is the same one when Nolan released his biggest hits (“The Dark Knight” in 2008, “Inception” in 2010, and “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012). It’s also almost 20 years after another World War »


- Seth Kelley

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