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Film Review: ‘First Kill’

4 hours ago

Just how many people has “First Kill” star Bruce Willis killed over the course of his career? According to a site called MovieBodyCounts.com (whose statistics look to be about as accurate as a sawed-off shotgun blast), Willis has offed 116 adversaries to date. A more accurate tally is best left to someone with an appetite for action and plenty of free time on their hands — which just so happens to be the kind of person most likely to appreciate another generic collaboration between Willis and director Steven C. Miller (their third, following “Extraction” and “Marauders”).

With little to distinguish this VOD-bound Lionsgate Premiere release from so many straight-to-video thrillers, “First Kill” offers the ever-so-slight novelty of casting Willis as the bad guy. He plays a corrupt rural police chief named Howell, who’s courteous to the locals in small-town Graville, Ohio, but not above murdering them if they get between him and the loot from a recent »


- Peter Debruge

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Platino Awards: Edward James Olmos on Latino Power and Donald Trump

4 hours ago

Madrid — Soon to be seen in “Blade Runner 2049,” where he reprises his role as Gaff, Edward James Olmos sounded a note of large hope for Latino moviemaking as he talked to journalists in Madrid a day before he receives the 2017 Honorary Platino Award for career achievement.

Latinos account for more than 20% of the population but only 4% of images in the U.S., said Olmos, a seasoned voice of Hollywood’s Latino film and TV community who shot to fame in “Miami Vice” to snag an Oscar nomination for “Stand and Deliver.”

That contrasts with Afro-Americans – 12% of Americans and 17% of images. In 1940, there were 750 cinema theaters in the U.S. screening movies in Spanish. Now there are only 35, Olmos said, adding he was shocked no mention was made in “Argo” of the fact that the real-life Tony Mendez played by Ben Affleck in the film was Mexican-American.

The situation, Olmos argued, can only get better. »


- John Hopewell

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‘Spawn’ Movie in Development From Todd McFarlane and Blumhouse

6 hours ago

Todd McFarlane is bringing “Spawn” back to the big screen.

The comic book creator announced that a new movie based on his creation is in the works, courtesy of Blumhouse Productions.

“We just signed [Jason Blum] yesterday,” McFarlane said in a video announcement on Friday during San Diego Comic-Con. “No more theoretical … It’s coming. Get ready for it. We’re going into production.”

The character of Spawn first appeared in print in 1992, and gained popularity in the comics community almost instantly. In 1997 New Line adapted the character into a feature film starring Michael Jai White. The movie was a modest financial success, but did not earn critical approval. McFarlane said in Friday’s announcement that the new movie will be rated R, as opposed to the first go-around, which was PG-13. HBO also took a crack at the antihero in an animated series that lasted for three seasons, each with six episodes, and »


- Seth Kelley

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Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Sets Its Sights on $50 Million Opening Weekend

7 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is dominating the box office and heading for a surprisingly strong opening weekend of at least $50 million from 3,720 North American locations, early estimates showed Friday.

Opening day for the highly praised Warner Bros. World War II drama is heading for more than $20 million, including $5.5 million in Thursday night previews. As of early Friday afternoon, the studio is maintaining its guidance of a Friday-Sunday total in the $35 million to $40 million range, but rivals are forecasting that the final figure will be far higher — ranging from $53 million to $62 million.

Universal’s launch of R-rated comedy “Girls Trip” is also performing solidly with an opening day of around $12 million, portending a launch weekend of at least $25 million at 2,591 sites. Elsewhere, the launch of Luc Besson’s fast-priced sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” appears to be coming in below modest expectations at around only $18 million from 3,553 venues.

Related »


- Dave McNary

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Disney’s ‘10 Days Without Mom’ No. 1 Argentine Movie of 2017

7 hours ago

Disney, the most dominant of all Hollywood studios last year in Latin America, has another Argentine hit on its hands: Ariel Winograd’s “Mamá se fue de viaje” (“10 Days Without Mom”) which has just overtaken Ricardo Darin’s “Black Snow” after two weeks at theaters to become the highest-grossing Argentine hit of 2017.

Produced by Patagonik, a joint venture between Disney and Argentine broadcast group Artear, “10 Days Without Mom” bowed July 6 to place No. 3 but surged 7% in its second week for a total 685,233 admissions, about $3.8 million. Also starring Leonardo Sbaraglia, “Black Snow” cumed a total 684,474 admissions, according to Argentine box office compiler Ultracine.

Ripped by FilmSharks Intl. a longtime tittle-by-title Patagonik sales company partner, “10 Days” is also pushing out international sales, closing a remake deal with Mexico’s

“Nobody expected it,” Argentine newspaper Clarin said about “10 Days Without Mom’s” Argentine record for the year. That said, headed by Juan Pablo Galli and Juan Vera and backed by »


- John Hopewell

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Comic-Con 2017 in Photos

8 hours ago

Photos of panels, activations, and other events from Comic-Con 2017.

Related stories'Defenders': Marvel Series Makes Debut at Comic-Con with New Trailer (Watch)'Iron Fist' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix'Outlander' Surprises Fans With Season 3 Premiere at Comic-Con »


- Jacob Bryant

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‘Mr. Robot’ Creator Sam Esmail to Write, Direct Bermuda Triangle Movie

9 hours ago

Sam Esmail, creator of the hit TV series “Mr. Robot,” has been hired to write and direct Universal’s untitled Bermuda Triangle movie.

Earlier drafts were written by the teams of Miles Millar & Alfred Gough, and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White.

Esmail created the thriller series “Mr. Robot” for USA Network, focused on an underground society of hackers with access to private, government, and corporate secrets. His new Amazon series “Homecoming,” starring Julia Roberts, was recently given a two-season order.

The film’s producers are Dylan Clark (“Planet of the Apes” series) for his Universal-based Dylan Clark Productions, along with Esmail and Chad Hamilton for their Esmail Corp. Millar and Gough will executive produce.

Esmail made his feature film directorial debut on the 2014 romance “Comet,” starring Emmy Rossum and Justin Long.

Details on the Bermuda Triangle project are being kept under wraps. The Bermuda Triangle is located between the Florida Straits, Bermuda, »


- Dave McNary

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Antalya Film Festival Names Mike Downey as Artistic Director

9 hours ago

Turkey’s Antalya Film Festival, whose next edition runs Oct. 21-27, is upping its profile as an international film hub with the appointment of British-Irish producer Mike Downey as artistic director and Sarajevo Film Festival chief Mirsad Purivatra as strategic consultant.

Downey, who serves as the deputy chairman of the European Film Academy, is CEO of Film and Music Entertainment. He has produced or co-produced more than 60 movies. Recent credits include Mariam Khatchvani’s “Dede,” which won the East of the West Special Jury Prize at this month’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Downey has previously served in senior leadership roles at the Motovun and Pula film festivals.

This year’s Antalya festival will see the merger of the international and national competition sections. Other sections include Gala Screenings, playing “some of the most anticipated world cinema releases,” the Children and Family section, Retrospectives and the Culinary section.

The festival also hosts the Antalya Film Forum, which »


- Variety Staff

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Lana Condor to Star in ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Movie Based on Jenny Han Novel

10 hours ago

Teen rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” starring Lana Condor (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) in the lead role, has begun production in Vancouver.

The film, based on the novel by bestselling author Jenny Han, is being produced by Awesomeness Films and Overbrook Entertainment. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is directed by Susan Johnson with a screenplay by Sofia Alvarez.

Condor plays romance-novel buff Lara Jean Covey, who starts her junior year content to spend lunch in the library reading. Her love life goes from imaginary to out of control when her secret box of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to the various boys she’s had crushes on throughout her life. To avoid confronting them, Lara Jean fakes a relationship with one of them — but starts to realize that she may not be pretending.

Cast of the film also includes John Corbett (“United States of Tara,” “Sex and the City »


- Todd Spangler

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‘Dunkirk’ Takes $8.6 Million in Early International Openings

10 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has grossed $8.6 million from its first two days in 31 international markets.

France is the leading market with $1.8 million on 668 screens in its first two days, followed by South Korea with $1.6 million on its opening day on Thursday at 1,252 locations. The Korean results were in line with Nolan’s “Interstellar” and above “Gravity” and “American Sniper.”

Dunkirk,” based on the 1940 evacuation of 300,000 stranded Allied troops from France, stars Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, and Harry Styles. Film critics have already offered extensive praise for the cinematography, direction, acting, and musical score.

Nolan shot most of “Dunkirk” in France and California. The Warner Bros. release has a price tag of $150 million.

Australia took in $938,000, including Wednesday night sneaks, on 535 screens for a 54% share of the top five films. The results are 45% ahead of “Gravity,” 33% ahead »


- Dave McNary

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Marisa Tomei on Playing Aunt May in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ Sequels and Hollywood Sexism

10 hours ago

After one Oscar win, two nominations, and roles in more than 60 movies, Marisa Tomei needs no introduction. Yet playing Aunt May in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has changed the energy around her. She noticed it on the day of her interview with Variety when a disdainful contractor in her Manhattan building in the West Village suddenly offered a welcoming smile. “He pulled out a picture for me to sign for his son,” Tomei recalled, with a laugh.

With nearly $500 million in box office receipts worldwide, “Spider-Man” is one of the biggest hits of the year. The reboot of the comic-book series features Tom Holland as a high-school web slinger. And his Aunt May is hipper, too, than the version played by Rosemary Harris in the 2002 tentpole. Tomei spoke to Variety about not watching other “Spider-Men” films and how she found the character.

How has the reception been to your “Spider-Man?”

I think the most gratifying has been the reaction »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Harry Styles on Shooting His Debut Film Role in ‘Dunkirk’: ‘It Was So Intense’

10 hours ago

Harry Styles sat down with Elvis Duran on the Z100 Morning Show on Friday, where the two discussed Styles’ debut acting role in Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic “Dunkirk” and how it impacted the creation of Styles’ self-titled solo album.

According to Styles, he stopped all work on his new album to film the movie.

Related

Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Battles to $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

“I started the album, I’d been kind of writing for not very long at all, and then the movie thing happened,” Styles said. “I just stopped for five months and took a complete break.”

Styles went on to discuss what it was like working on the set of a film starring such seasoned actors as Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The singer said he’s a huge fan of Nolan and he felt lucky to be working with the cast on his debut film.

“Honestly, »


- Erin Nyren

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Christopher Nolan’s Films Ranked Worst to Best

10 hours ago

To celebrate “Dunkirk,” we ranked all ten of Christopher Nolan’s films.

Related storiesBox Office: 'Dunkirk' Sets Its Sights on $50 Million Opening Weekend'Dunkirk' Takes $8.6 Million in Early International OpeningsHarry Styles on Shooting His Debut Film Role in 'Dunkirk': 'It Was So Intense' »


- Owen Gleiberman

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James Gunn Used Tyler Bates’ Music During Shooting of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

11 hours ago

It’s fairly unusual for a director to ask a composer to write music for his movie even before shooting begins. But it’s practically unheard of to play that music on the set while the actors are performing.

Yet that’s exactly what happened on “Guardians of the Galaxy” and this year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.” Director James Gunn took his cue from composer Ennio Morricone and director Sergio Leone, who often followed this procedure.

“Music informs the way the cameras move, the performances, the cuts, everything,” Gunn says.

Composer Tyler Bates recalls visiting London’s Shepperton studios in 2013, when Gunn was making the first “Guardians,” and being surprised to hear star Chris Pratt rave about hearing the music on the set.

Related

Tyler Bates Balances Careers as Guitarist and In-Demand Film Composer

“When the actors hear the music play,” Gunn points out, “they get a much better idea of the tone of the »


- Jon Burlingame

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Paramount Pushes ‘Cloverfield Movie’ Back to 2018

12 hours ago

Paramount and J.J. AbramsBad Robot Productions have moved the science-fiction thriller “2017 Cloverfield Movie” back by more than three months to Feb. 2, 2018, from Oct. 27. The studio has also moved George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” forward a week from Nov. 3 to Oct. 27.

This is now the second delay for the “Cloverfield” threequel, which had been originally titled “God Particle,” after it was pushed back for the first time from its initial Feb. 24, 2017, date.

“The 2017 Cloverfield Movie,” which will most likely be retitled, will become the first title to launch on Feb. 2, just two days before the NFL’s 52nd Super Bowl.

Related

Oren Uziel Discusses Directorial Debut ‘Shimmer Lake,’ ‘God Particle’ Joining ‘Cloverfield

The story, set in the near future, centers on a team of astronauts on a space station making a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality, all while desperately trying to fight for their survival.

Nigerian-American »


- Dave McNary

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Al Gore at Town Hall: ‘Every Night Is a Nature Hike Through the Book of Revelations’ (Listen)

12 hours ago

Washington, D.C. — Al Gore says that recent environmental devastation and extreme weather, more than anything, is what is changing minds on the climate crisis.

Appearing at a SiriusXM/Variety town hall on Thursday, tied to the release of Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s new movie “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” Gore traces climate denial to the economic meltdown in 2008. Before that, the nominees of both parties, Barack Obama and John McCain, acknowledged that action needed to be taken to address climate change.

“You saw, really, the beginning of the modern fever of climate denial in the Republican party start then,” Gore said in the town hall. “But we are seeing pushback, now, and we are seeing a lot of changes with people who don’t want to engage in the argument. They don’t even feel comfortable using the phrase global warming. But they understand…that they have an obligation to their kids, and »


- Ted Johnson

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Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Battles to $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

13 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has opened impressively with $5.5 million in Thursday night preview screenings in North America.

Universal’s comedy “Girls Trip” launched respectably with $1.7 million in Thursday night shows in 2,195 domestic theaters, while Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” matched that figure at 2,600 locations.

Warner Bros. is opening “Dunkirk” at 3,720 domestic venues Friday. The studio has forecasted that the highly praised World War II epic will take in between $35 million and $40 million for the launch weekend but other trackers believe the final number will be higher.

Related

Dunkirk’ Stars Recall Receiving Script Shrouded in Secrecy: ‘I Felt Like I Was on a Spy Film’

The movie is getting the widest 70Mm release in more than two decades, a testament to the trust the backers have in Nolan. The director shot much of “Dunkirk” with Imax’s extremely high-resolution 2D film cameras.

The Thursday night preview numbers included $1.6 million from 402 Imax screens »


- Dave McNary

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Kevin Spacey Playing Author Gore Vidal in Netflix Original Biopic (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Rome – Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is playing writer Gore Vidal in a new Netflix original biopic, “Gore,” which is in production in Italy.

U.S. director Michael Hoffman (“The Last Station”) is helming the 1980s-set film about the late American author, playwright, and occasional political candidate. “Gore” is currently shooting in Rome but will move next month to Vidal’s longtime villa in Ravello, a village on the Amalfi Coast, sources tell Variety.

British producer Andy Paterson (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) is producing “Gore” for Netflix.

Netflix was not available for comment.

Vidal’s beloved gravity-defying villa La Rondinaia, nestled on a craggy cliff in Ravello a thousand feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea, will feature prominently in the movie, according to the president of the Ravello Foundation, Sebastiano Maffettone, local media reported. At La Rondinaia, which he sold in 2004, Vidal entertained his vast network of high-profile friends and acquaintances, including Greta Garbo, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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India’s Reliance Industries Buys Stake in Balaji Telefilms

14 hours ago

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. is acquiring a 24.9% stake in leading content provider Balaji Telefilms for $64.2 million, part of Reliance’s push into the entertainment sector. Balaji operates the digital content platform Alt and will use the Reliance investment to grow the business further.

Led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance operates in the telecom, petroleum, retail, and media spheres. The group’s 2016 annual revenue was $44.7 billion.

Balaji Telefilms produces most of India’s top-rated Hindi-language television content, including “Naagin,” “Kum Kum Bhagya,” and “Ye Hai Mohabbatein.” The Balaji-produced “Chandrakanta” is currently airing on the Colors channel operated by Network 18, the media group in which Reliance owns a controlling stake.

Lipstick Under My Burkha” (pictured), a film that initially ran afoul of Indian censors but was subsequently cleared, is being distributed from Friday by Balaji’s films division, Balaji Motion Pictures, alongside Alt.

“This investment in content production (including digital content) is in line with [our] commitment to invest »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Michael Alago, Who Signed Metallica and White Zombie, Gets the Documentary Treatment in ‘Who the F**k Is That Guy?’

14 hours ago

If the histories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre warrant four hours of prime HBO real estate in “The Defiant Ones,” then certainly Michael Alago, the flamboyant New York punk habitue who signed Metallica to Elektra and White Zombie to Geffen during his stints as an A&R executive, deserves his 77 minutes of recognition.

In the spirit of similar documentaries on behind-the-scenes heroes such as Rodney Bingenheimer (“The Mayor of Sunset Strip”) and Danny Fields (“Danny Says”), “Who the F**k Is That Guy?” recounts the remarkable journey of Alago, a Puerto Rican kid who grew up on Brooklyn’s New Utrecht Avenue with his bedroom facing an elevated subway track. That undoubtedly influenced his passion for post-punk hardcore rock. “I love the noise,” he says at one point in the movie. “I love the sweat.  I love when I go to concerts and it’s 99% guys.”

The documentary was directed by punk-rock veteran Drew Stone, who »


- Roy Trakin

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