BOX OFFICE: ‘Divergent’ Takes $54.6M; ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Zapped By ‘Peabody’ & ‘Frozen’?; Faith-Based ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises At No. 4 And ‘Budapest Hotel’ Another Strong Showing

OPENING: Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) was expected at $53M to $55M+ and rose to $56M+ for the weekend, ended at $54.6; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) was tracking at $28M, then opened and was thought to be $18 to $19M, then ended at $17M; God’s Not Dead (FREESTYLE RELEASING) surprised everyone to take the No. 5 spot and a wicked $11K per screen. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands to 304 for a strong $22K per screen; Frozen drops out of Top Ten after 18 weeks in release.

Box office6th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:45 PM: With an opening weekend of $54.6M, Lionsgate’s Divergent opened right in line with what it was tracking at, not $56M+ but still a strong opening for the start of another hopeful franchise for the company. It should get yet another good weekend as Spring Break swings into gear and before Captain America (DIS/MARVEL) debuts. The surprise of the weekend was the strong opening of faith-based film God’s Not Dead which debuted in No. 6 on Friday and ended up stepping up to No. 4 with a higher than expected gross on Sunday of  $9.2M with a very hearty per screen average of $11,852. The question is, of course, its second weekend out and how much it will drop. Son of God from Fox took around a 60% hit on its second weekend out and Paramount Pictures’ Noah opens this weekend so it may sink to the bottom like a rock.

peabodyMuppets Most Wanted was a big disappointment for Disney, ending its opening weekend with $17M and change on a budget of $54M. Frozen is on PPV and hit the street on DVD this weekend so you have to wonder how much that took from its opening weekend. Same studio, too. And, as I said below, if Mr. Peabody, which took in $11.8M wasn’t in the marketplace wouldn’t Muppets have benefited that much more? Hopefully, for the filmmakers it will make some money in home entertainment. Exhibs wanted more family films in the first quarter and they got it, 80FEB5CE-B4B3-FFD6-28D0C3F38E6C445Bmaxresdefaultbut the success of one film is gnawing the box office away for another. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those first quarter surprises for the industry. It opened in very limited release three weeks ago for a record-breaking $202K per screen and it just … won’t … quit. Fox Searchlight is expanding the Wes Anderson-directed pleaser to around 700 to 800 screens this weekend. Shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. Final Top 20 chart below: Read More »

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UPDATE: DreamWorks Animation Unveils Shanghai DreamCenter Design (Photos)

UPDATE, WRITETHRU 8:05 AM PT: DreamWorks Animation and partners held a kick-off ceremony in Shanghai earlier today to unveil the master design plan for their DreamCenter entertainment complex. The $2.4B “lifestyle destination” is due to begin construction this year and open in 2017. On the ground were DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, China Media Capital chairman Ruigang Li; chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, Allan Zeman; and reps of CDB Capital. The “Dreams Come True” celebration presented further details and new artists renderings of the 463,000 square meter complex (continued below):

Waterfront Cultural Plaza
V5_Waterfront Cultural Plaza

Among the attractions will be a 500-seat IMAX movie theater to accomodate international film festivals and red carpet events (pic below). Bars, restaurants and performance venues are part of the designs and there will be a “Dream Avenue” theater district fashioned after Broadway and the West End in London. DreamCenter will also house the headquarters of Oriental DreamWorks, the joint venture between DWA, CMC and other local partners who are cooperating on the production of Kung Fu Panda 3. Katzenberg offered, “As the home base for Oriental DreamWorks Studio for the creation of top-quality family entertainment, DreamCenter is the place where great entertainment is not only displayed, but also where it is created.” The DreamCenter project was originally announced in 2012 for projected completion in 2016. It’s one of two major studio efforts in Shanghai. … Read More »

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Keke Palmer Joins Showtime’s ‘Masters Of Sex’; Annie Thurman In TNT’s ‘Proof’

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 9:19am PDT

Keke Palmer is set as a recurringkekepalmer2 for the second season of Showtime’s drama series Masters Of Sex, produced by Sony Pictures Television. Series centers on the pioneers of the science of human sexuality Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), whose research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine. Palmer will play Coral, the nanny hired by the Masters’ to care for their new baby. Palmer, repped by WME and Laron Entertainment, can next be seen in Flower Films horror/thriller Animal, and indies Brotherly Love and Imperial Dreams.

thurman2Annie Thurman (The Hunger Games) is set as a series regular in TNT pilot Proof, a supernatural medical drama executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick. Written by Rob Bragin and directed by Alex Graves, Proof centers on Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Jennifer Beals), a skeptical, hard-science, brilliant female surgeon with a caustic edge who has been struggling with the devastating loss of her teenage son and a growing estrangement from her surviving daughter. She is persuaded to investigate cases of reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, hauntings — all of it looking for verifiable proof to answer one of life’s greatest questions: Is death truly the end, or is there something else beyond? Thurman, repped by CESD and Treadwell Entertainment, will play Sophie, the surviving daughter.
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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M; ‘Mr. Peabody’ Chases In $32.2M; ‘Son Of God’ Falls 59% In Second Weekend, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Per Screen Stuns With Over $202K

OPENING: 300: Rise of An Empire (WB) commands $43M to $45M and ended on the high end; Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) $29M to $31M and made $32.5M; Son of God (FOX) dropped 61% in its second weekend. NOTEWORTHY:  Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave (FOX) re-upped to 1,065 screens and breaks back into the top ten. The Grand Budapest Hotel on four screens in L.A. and N.Y. a phenomenal, record-breaking per screen for a live-action film of $192,250 and might climb to $200,000.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206

5TH UPDATE, MONDAY, 1: 30 PM: The final numbers are in with The Grand Budapest Hotel pulling in $811,000 for Fox Searchlight to take in a per-screen average of $202K+ on four screens. High end of yesterday’s estimate. Warner Bros.’ and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire was on the money with yesterday’s cume and Mr. Peabody And Sherman‘s numbers were almost in line with yesterday’s while the ten spot was finally figured out … it went to Ride Along, not RoboCop but only by a hair. We are keeping in yesterday’s chart below for comparisons for those of you who want to see the differences (i.e. Son Of God down 59% instead of 61%, so Sunday’s numbers were slightly better than expected).

Next weekend’s openers are Disney’s Need For Speed, Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club going wide and in limited release will be Focus Features’ Bad Words, Warner Bros’ Vernonica Mars (also on VOD), and The Weinstein Company’s One Chance. Here is the Top 20:

1). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,470 theaters / 3-day cume: $45M / Per screen: $13,006 / Wk 1

2). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) 3,934 theaters / 3-day cume: $32.2M / Per screen: $8,187 / Wk 1

3). Non-Stop (UNI), 3,113 theaters (+23) / 3-day cume: $15.8M (-45%) / Per screen: $5,085 / Total cume: $52.5M / Wk 2

4). The Lego Movie (WB), 3,290 theaters (-480) / 3-day cume: $10.9M (-48%) / Per screen: $3,317 / Total cume: 224.8M / Wk 5

5). Son Of God (FOX), 3,271 theaters (+11) / 3-day cume: $10.3M (-59%) / Per screen: $3,173 / Total cume: $41.8M / Wk 2

6). Monuments Men (SONY), 2,001 theaters (-1,001) / 3-day cume: $3M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,537/ Total cume: $70.5M / Wk 5

7). 3 Days To Kill (REL), 2,348 theaters (-543) / 3-day cume: $3M (-39%) / Per screen: $1,282 / Total cume: $25.5M / Wk  3

8). Frozen (DIS), 1,660 theaters (-86) / 3-day cume: $2.9M (-19%) / Per screen: $1,780 / Total cume: $392.9M / Wk 16

9). 12 Years A Slave (FSL) 1,065 theaters (+654) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (+116%) / Per screen: $1,982 / Total cume: $53M / Wk 21

10). Ride Along (UNI), 1,323theaters (-546) /3-day cume: $2,024M (-33%) / Per screen: $1,530 / Total cume: $129.9M / Wk 8

Read More »

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Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Record Per-Screen Average

grand-budapest_2813768bWes Anderson topped himself with another record-breaker this weekend. After premieres at the Berlin Film Festival and last week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far the year’s biggest screen average debut and the biggest-ever opening for a live-action film. Fox Searchlight opened Budapest in four New York and Los Angeles theaters, grossing $800K for a stunning $200K screen average between Friday and Sunday. The number easily surpasses another record holder, The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, which starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman. That film opened in September 2012 with five runs, grossing over $736K for a $142,262 PTA. This weekend’s Budapest numbers also top Anderson’s previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, which grossed nearly $523K in four theaters when it opened following its Cannes debut in May 2012. A Focus Features release, it averaged $130,749 and went on to cume more than $45.5 million in the U.S.

Related: Box Office: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M; ‘Budapest’ Per Screen Stuns

Last year, animated feature Frozen opened with a $243,490 PTA, but this weekend’s Budapest numbers outgross another 2013 box office juggernaut, American Hustle, which opened in six theaters in December, grossing more than $740K for a $123,409 PTA. It has grossed $148.43M to date. Budapest also debuted this weekend in the UK, Germany and Belgium. The film’s profile is sky-high in Germany and elsewhere in Europe after its world premiere as opening-night film last month in Berlin.

Related: Specialty Box Office: Newcomers Overshadowed By ‘Budapest’ Opener

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Warner Bros Dates Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ For December 2014, ‘Entourage’ Landing In June 2015, ‘The Intern’ In September 2015

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 12:52pm PST

inherentvice2Paul Thomas Anderson‘s next film Inherent Vice has been given a plum awards-season release date. Warner Bros said today that the pic starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston and Jena Malone will come out December 12, 2014. The adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 detective novel will be Anderson’s first film since 2012′s The Master, which was nominated for three Oscars. The studio has spent the past week setting its release slate, especially for early 2015, finding spots for Man From U.N.C.L.E (January 16), Run All Night (February 6), Focus (February 27) and Get Hard (March 27).

Related:
Warner Bros Sets 2015 Release Dates For ‘Run All Night’, ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ And ‘Focus’

As usual it will be a packed Oscar-bait weekend on December 12. That’s when Fox releases its Ridley Scott biblical epic Exodus, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. It’s also the date for Paddington, the live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon character from TWC-Dimension. Colin Firth voices the bear, and Nicole Kidman is an evil taxidermist out for revenge.

Related: Warner Bros Sets March 2015 Release Date For ‘Get Hard’ Read More »

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Sony Music Sued For $10M By ‘American Idol’ Producers Over Unpaid Royalties

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 11:35am PST

DJP LEGAL BADGEIt might seem like ages ago but once upon a time American Idol winners and contestants regularly hit the Top 10 with their songs and become big stars and major moneymakers. Those days of almost assured hits out of Idol may be waning but there is still money on the table from those who hit the tune jackpot. Which is why the music company affiliated with Idol imgres-1producers 19 Entertainment today took Sony Music to court for royalties that it alleges Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughty, Clay Aiken and other Idol alumni are owed – especially in the digital realm. In the breach of contract compliant (read it here) filed today in federal court in NYC, 19 Recordings are seeking compensatory damages of more than $7 million, pre and post-judgment interest of “at least $3 million” plus legal and organizational costs and whatever else the jury will give them. ”It was very important to my clients to protect their artists, and we look forward to pursuing this,” attorney Richard Busch told me today after the suit was filed. The Nashville-based lawyer at King & Barlow is representing 19 Recordings in the matter.

“Sony has failed to comply with the terms of the Recording Agreements, and failed to fulfill its obligations under the Recording Agreements, by failing to properly account to and pay 19 royalties for licensing, sales, and other exploitations of the … Read More »

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UPDATED: Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder Behind “Dumb Starbucks” Stunt; Health Department Shuts It Down

Dumb Starbucks Shut Down2ND UPDATE, 5:50 PM: Los Angeles County health officials shut down the Dumb Starbucks operation late Monday afternoon for “operating without a valid public health permit” following company “President” Nathan Fielder’s revealing news conference today. “Employees” on site say they have no idea when it will reopen.

PREVIOUS UPDATE, 4:15 PM: Comedy Central‘s Nathan Fielder is the mastermind behind the pop up art installation/social experiment slash TV stunt known as Dumb Starbucks. “I’m proud to announce we’ll be opening our second Starbucks in Brooklyn, New York soon… This really caught on so I’m going to ride it out,” he announced today. Fielder’s Nathan For You docu-reality series debuted last year on Comedy Central with Dumb Starbucks Nathan For Youthe Canadian comedian frequently setting up similar real life hoaxes and gags in the public. In today’s media scrum he acknowledged that since Dumb Starbucks currently lacks health permits “legally speaking, we are operating as an art gallery.” One production design expert tells us the signage and materials used to create Dumb Starbucks’ elaborate environment might have cost as much as $30K. Today’s line was still out the door, and the media attention drew officers from the LA County Health Department who were seen barreling into the store shortly before the afternoon press conference. A film crew has been shooting at the location and filmed today’s … Read More »

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DreamWorks Animation Launches Publishing Unit To Promote Its Characters

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 11:46am EST

Up to now the studio licensed books based on its characters to different publishers with Simon & Schuster serving as the master licensee. DreamWorks Animation But now it’s taking charge with DreamWorks Press, described as “an in-house operation which will publish digital and print books inspired by the studio’s vast [intellectual property] library.”  The unit’s works will be sold and distributed by The Perseus Books Group and will “give fans a meaningful way to interact with us on a year-round basis,” DreamWorks Animation‘s Head of Franchise Shawn Dennis says. The first DreamWorks Press books will be ready by this year’s holiday shopping season. Franchises initially targeted for digital and print books and book apps include Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek, and 2015′s B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations along with properties from DreamWorks Classics — the Classic Media library bought in 2012 and that includes Little Golden Books — and AwesomenessTV. DWA says that it will “build an international team within the publishing arm to ensure that content is produced and enjoyed around the world.” Publishing vet Emma Whittard will run DreamWorks Press. “With all of the proper pieces now in place, we are perfectly positioned to grow the publishing business in a significant way for years to come,” she says.

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James Franco’s Production Company Acquires Book About So-Bad-It’s-Good Cult Movie ‘The Room’

James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions has optioned book and life rights DisasterArtistto The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the book published last fall by Simon & Schuster from actor Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell. francoFranco will direct and co-produce the book adaptation with his Rabbit Bandini  partner Vince Jolivette, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Productions. Ryan Moody is writing the script.

Sestero and Tommy Wiseau co-wrote and starred in the 2003 feature film The Room, which some have called the worst movie ever made. Wiseau directed, produced and financed the pic, which was self-released only in Southern California before word-of-mouth spread. It has since achieved cult status for its hole-filled plot and poor production values, earning it a place in the midnight show slots usually occupied by pics like Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Among the Room converts is the CAA-repped Franco, who reviewed the book on Vice in December, calling Wiseau “part vampire, part Hollywood dreamer, part gangster, part Ed Wood, and super lonely” and equating the novel to being a combination of Boogie Nights and The Master and praising it for going beyond being just a bunch of anecdotes from the set of a bad movie. Last month, Franco posted on Instagram that the book was his: ”A new Franco joint, starring both Francos – produced by seth and evan Wazzup now?!”

Here’s the trailer for The Room:

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UPDATE: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead At 46 Of Apparent Overdose

By and | Sunday February 2, 2014 @ 10:52am PST

Philip Seymour Hoffman DeadOscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He was 46. According to NYPD, Hoffman was discovered Sunday morning in his Manhattan home after suffering an apparent drug overdose. Police were called to the scene around 11:30 AM by Hoffman’s friend who found the actor non-responsive in the bathroom of the apartment this morning, according to NYPD, which said that a hypodermic needle and two glassine envelopes containing what appeared to be heroin were found in the fourth-floor apartment. Police would not confirm the name of the friend who found Hoffman. An autopsy will be performed and results could take  some time for toxicology reports to become available.

Related: PHOTOS: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

The industry well knows Hoffman’s films credits, but his real role in life was as father of three young children with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell: Cooper, 11, Tallulah who is seven and Willa who is six years old. O’Donnell and he met in 1999 when Hoffman directed the play In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. His family just issued the following statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving.  Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hoffman, who audiences will most recently remember for his turn … Read More »

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R.I.P. Miklos Jancso

By | Friday January 31, 2014 @ 7:35am PST

Miklos JancsoHungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso, who won the best director at Cannes in 1972, died Friday in Budapest. He was 92. His death followed a long illness. Jancso, who director Martin Scorsese once called “the master of the long shot,” was known for his long takes and visual style in his historical epics. “I was always concerned with the problem of the individual can navigate through history,” Jancso once said. He won in Cannes for Red Psalm, a film about a 19th century peasant uprising. He also directed The Round Up, which was shot in widescreen black and white, became critically acclaimed and was one of his best-known and commercially successful films. Jancso was in WWII and became a Soviet prisoner of war. After the war, he enrolled in film school. Always keenly interested in history, his films reflected that … none more than The Red And The White, about the Russian and Hungarian revolutions, showed the horrors of war. jancso-round-up_420In the 1960s, he was considered one of the best filmmakers in the world. This was a writer-director who pushed the boundaries: In the 1970s, he made Vices And Pleasures about the Archduke of Austria and his mistress. Because the film contained orgy scenes, it was banned in Italy and he was sentenced to four months in prison (which he later won on appeal). Another successful film was Silence And Cry, about a young man caught on the wrong side of the failed 1919 Hungarian Revolution. Jancso’s first work in color was The Confrontation about the school system changes once the Russians took power in 1947. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Liberty Global Buying Dutch Cabler Ziggo; Epic Pictures Selling ‘Louder Than Words’ At EFM; More

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 9:05pm PST

Liberty Global Set To Acquire Dutch Cabler Ziggo
John Malone’s Liberty Global plans to expand its European cable holdings with an agreement to pay $9.4B in cash and stock for DZiggoutch cable operator Ziggo. If regulators approve the deal, then Liberty — which already owns 28.5% of Ziggo — will merge it with UPC, another cable company it owns there. “Our combined operations will reach over 90% of all Dutch households, allowing us to compete more effectively with the other national telecommunications and satellite platforms in the Netherlands, and at the same time generate significant revenue and operating efficiencies,” says Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. Read More »

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Megan Ellison Won’t Fund ‘Terminator’ Revival; David Ellison, Paramount Paying

Mike Fleming

Terminator-Arnold-as-Terminator__131206182643-575x323EXCLUSIVE: Although Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures started the process on reviving the Terminator franchise, she has divested herself financially of involvement in the final two or three pictures that will now be solely financed by her brother David Ellison’s Skydance and Paramount Pictures. This has been confirmed to me, and I’m told she will retain an executive producer credit. No one was specific about how the funding of the films will be handled, but I’ve heard that Skydance will now fund 66%, and Paramount will pay for the rest. Others say this has not been determined, as the film is now being budgeted.

meganCoupled with a changeover at the top of her sales company Panorama yesterday, it might seem that Megan Ellison is tapering off. I don’t believe that’s the case. Even when she took control of The Terminator franchise when she paid $20 million or more to acquire the rights at auction around the time of Cannes 2011, this property was an anomaly for her. Her heart is in taste-maker auteur-driven fare, and she has become a patron saint of prestige films that might not otherwise get made. That is what she will focus on. Her efforts include recently named Best Picture nominees American Hustle and Her, last year’s  Zero Dark Thirty and The Master, and the upcoming Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher.

For her brother David, Terminator: Genesis and possibly two other films to wrap up the storyline are right in his wheelhouse. He’s at home co-financing and producing large-scale popcorn pictures, and this one fits right in with his other franchises: Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and World War Z. Both of the Ellison siblings confirmed this has happened. Read More »

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Costume Designers Guild To Honor Amy Adams With Spotlight Award

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 10:43am PST

Five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams will receive20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Press Room the Lacoste Spotlight Award at the 16th CDG Awards February 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The award honors an actor whose talent and career personifies an enduring commitment to excellence, including a special awareness of the role and importance of costume design. Adams is coming off Best Actress wins at the Golden Globes (Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy) and Critics Choice (Best Actress in a Comedy) for her performance in American Hustle. She also has nabbed Best Actress Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Hustle. Michael Wilkinson, Adams’ costume designer for American Hustle, has also received an Oscar, BAFTA and CDGA nomination for his work on the film. Additionally, Adams’ costume designer for Her, Casey Storm, earned his first CDGA film nomination this year. Adams’ other film credits include The Master, The Fighter, Enchanted, Man Of Steel, Doubt, Julie & Julia, Trouble With The Curve, Charlie Wilson’s War and Catch Me If You Can.

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Sundance: Sundance Institute Pulls Back Curtain On Global Short-Film Challenge

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 4:15pm PST

sundance-headerPark City, UT — Sundance Institute, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced a new project that will harness the power of independent film to create a global conversation about extreme hunger and poverty. The Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge will spur the production of documentary and narrative films – through a global open call for three-to-eight-minute submissions – that will celebrate imaginative solutions real people are creating to overcome the challenges of extreme hunger and poverty.

The project supports Sundance Institute’s mission to empower independent storytellers and connect their work to communities around. The Institute is working with Tongal.com to manage the online call for entries. Winning films will receive a $10,000 grant and premiere at a private event at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Users can submit through July 1, 2014. There is no fee to apply. More information can be found at www.tongal.com/sundance.

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Sundance: Bruce Willis To Star In Action Pic ‘Vice’, Teaming Again With Emmett / Furla / Oasis Films

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE:  Lone Survivor producer Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is set to produce willisand finance Vice, an Andre Fabrizio- and Jeremy Passmore-scripted futuristic action thriller that will star Bruce Willis. The $15 million-budget pic will be distributed by Grindstone/Lionsgate Films. The movie is set in a city in which humans can enact their most perverse fantasies onto androids. One android becomes self-aware and breaks out, only to become intent on shutting down the organization. Ambyr efoChilders, most recently seen in 2 Guns, Ray Donovan and The Master, will play the android, and Willis will play Julian, owner of the Vice resort that caters to the depraved. Pic begins shooting March 15 in Alabama and more casting is pending. George Furla, Randall Emmett and Adam Goldworm are producing. Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb will executive produce, and Tim Sullivan is co-producing.

Emmett/Furla is fully in the Bruce Willis business these days: He just finished shooting director Brian A. Miller’s action thriller The Prince alongside Jason Patric, John Cusack and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, also penned by Fabrizio and Passmore. Willis also was recently set to star in Captive, a Brazil-set action thriller directed by Simon Brand that shoots later this year.

Willis is repped by CAA, and E/F/O Films is with WME.

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday January 5, 2014 @ 5:15pm PST

Catch up with Deadline’s best film stories of the week:

hollywood-signYear-End: How A Growing Global Mandate And Franchise Fever Led To Movie Studio Tsuris
By Mike Fleming – Considering that global movie ticket sales reached precedent levels after a particularly robust holiday period and a mostly sizzling summer, 2013 was one of the most turbulent years I can remember in the executive suites of major studios.

Box Office: Nation In Deep Freeze As Ticket Sales Plummet; ‘Frozen’ Still No. 1, Just Shy of $300M; ‘Paranormal’ Audiences Scared While ‘Wolf’ And ‘Hustle’ Close
By Anita Busch – With the nation in a deep freeze, pictures across the board were affected this weekend. And Sunday moviegoing is expected to be down. With more estimates coming in, the odds are that The Wolf of Wall Street will just nudge out American Hustle by a mere $200,000 for the weekend to take the fourth spot.

Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain
By Nancy Tartaglione – The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S.

Inside Llewyn DavisWGA Continues Strong Awards Season For ‘Wall Street’, ‘Hustle’, ‘Dallas’ & Woody, But ‘Gravity’, ‘12 Years’ & Coens Not Invited To The Party
By Pete Hammond – It continues to be a good week for American Hustle, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Her, Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska. All followed up yesterday’s Producers Guild nominations with WGA noms this morning, making it 2-for-2 in the early guild contests of this new year. Read More »

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OSCARS: From ‘Philomena’ To ‘Saving Mr. Banks’, Composers Show Creativity And Agility With This Year’s Scores

David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.

This year’s bevy of awards contender films is not only uncharacteristically large but also varied, particAwardsLine.LogoBWularly in how they were scored. The lack of similarity is apparent in everything from genre to instrumentation and even transcends musical matters, touching on the very core of the process. Specifically, when the composer is handpicked to buttress feelings and emotions primarily expressed in visual terms, what is his or working relationship with the director? Several prominent composers spoke about that intimate union, which in some cases was a new collaboration and in others a welcome reteaming.

Philomena (1)Alexandre Desplat first worked with Stephen Frears on The Queen in 2006 and gratefully accepted the director’s offer to work on this year’s Philomena, a bittersweet road movie starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. “The story is intimate and deeply moving, and Stephen thought I could emphasize that,” Desplat says. “The story is such that it’s difficult not to be in tears: This little woman who seems to be lost but is actually ahead of everyone. It was so appealing to me. I came out with the main theme rather quickly.”

Related: ‘Philomena’: Could It Be This Year’s Oscar Sleeper?
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