‘Oklahoma’ Restoration Launches TCM Film Fest As Classic Hollywood Gets Ready For Its Closeup

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT
Pete Hammond

share“You need to show more re-releases. You need to show the great old movies in your theatres,”  director Christopher Nolan told exhibitors at their CinemaCon convention a couple of weeks ago, but sadly no one in that crowd applauded the sentiment. I thought of that as I attended last night’s kickoff  of  TCM’s 5th Annual Classic Film Festival, a nirvana for movie lovers. At least this is still a place you can see “great old movies”  in theatres and in pristine condition. And people from around the U.S., and even the world travel to Hollywood for the opportunity. For that Nolan should at least be thankful.

2014 TCM Classic Film Festival - Opening Night Gala And World Premiere Of The Restoration Of "Oklahoma!"This edition got underway Thursday night with the World Premiere of a stunning TODD AO restoration of the 1955 musical OklahomaStar Shirley Jones joined TCM host Robert Osborne (a “rock star” to the TCM crowd that comes from everywhere for this four-day smorgasboard of movies) for a pre-screening Q&A at the newly renovated TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX.  It was the first film for the Oscar-winning star who just turned 80 last week.  It’s probably safe to say the movie didn’t even look this good when it originally premiered almost 60 years ago  thanks to14682 20th Century Fox’s 8-month effort (led by restorer Schawn Belston) to bring it back to life in the same 30 frame per second TODD AO format in which it was made. Fox is releasing this film and several other Rodgers And Hammerstein musicals in a Blu-ray box set later this Spring.  The TODD AO process was sort of an answer to the 3D craze of the 50′s and in this incarnation it actually feels at times like you are watching some scenes (like a runaway horse sequence) in 3D without glasses. Read More »

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Tribeca Film Festival Jurors Announced

Tribeca 2014 marqueeThe judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ’50 Kisses’ Sets Writer Record; ‘Mysteries Of Laura’ Deepen; ‘Dropped’ Upped In Sweden; More

50 kissesUK omnibus 50 Kisses is entering the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest roster of co-writers on a feature film. The 51 scribes will gather today at BAFTA headquarters in London for a special screening of the film that beat the previous record holder, 1943’s Forever And A Day. That film had 21 writers including an uncredited Alfred Hitchcock. The British 50 Kisses was produced by the London Screenwriters’ Festival. Two years ago, it invited writers to submit two-page scripts featuring at least one kiss and set on Valentine’s Day. The 50 best scripts were released online with an open invitation for filmmakers to produce them. Ultimately, 127 shorts were made and those were edited down to produce 50 Kisses. The finished product was released on February 13 this year, earning a per-screen average of nearly £9,500. The end credits run for 17 minutes. Read More »

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Fox’s ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Ups Joel McKinnon Miller, Dirk Blocker To Regular

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 6:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After recurring on Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘sdirk1Joel McKinnon Miller freshman season, Joel McKinnon Miller and Dirk Blocker have been upped to regular for Season 2 on the Fox comedy series, from Universal TV. Miller, repped by Greene & Associates and Howard Entertainment, plays Detective Scully, the bumbling veteran of the police force who serves as the office’s punching bag. Blocker millerblockerplays the frequently shirtless Detective Hitchcock on the series set in the NYPD’s 99th Precinct in Brooklyn. Scully and Hitchcock have been standout characters and got their own holiday video (watch it below). Brooklyn Nine-Nine was one of three Fox comedies, along with New Girl and The Mindy Project, that received an early renewal. It has been one of the most heralded freshman series, winning Golden Globe Awards for Best Comedy Series and Comedy Actor for Andy Samberg.

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Showtime Picks Up Morgan Spurlock Documentary Series On Seven Deadly Sins

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 9:58am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Morgan SpurlockShowtime will air Seven Deadly Sins, a new documentary from Super Size Me writer-director Morgan Spurlock. Hosted by Spurlock, the series will explore each of the seven deadly sins — one per episode — taking an in-depth look at the weird and darkly comic world of sin. The project had been in development and production at Showtime, which is showtime_logo__121211185844__130120002910__130730210613__131210182749now announcing the series, along with a June 19 premiere date. Seven Deadly Sins comes from Warrior Poets, Spurlock’s production banner with partner Jeremy Chilnick. “For years, I’ve wanted to do an Alfred Hitchcock Presents-style show comprised completely of non-fiction stories,” said Spurlock. “A series just as dark and twisted as anything fiction could imagine, and now I’m thrilled to have that dream come true with Seven Deadly Sins. With Showtime as a partner, we’re going to make this as depraved as any scripted program as we dive head first into Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy & Pride. You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.”

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Bruce Dern To Receive SBIFF’s Modern Master Award, Steps In For Emma Thompson

dern2Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor Academy Award-nominated actor Bruce Dern with the Modern Master Award at the 29th edition of the Fest, which runs January 30 – February 9, 2014, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. The Tribute will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the historic Arlington Theatre and is sponsored by Adobe.

Emma Thompson, who was slated to receive the Modern Master Award, is unfortunately now not able to be in attendance as she is required for rehearsal in London on the New York Philharmonic staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which will be directed by Lonny Price.

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Helen Mirren To Receive BAFTA Fellowship

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 11:20am PST

 66th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards - Red CarpetLondon, 27 January 2014: On Sunday 16 February, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will present Dame Helen Mirren with the Fellowship at the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House, London. Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by the Academy upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games. Fellows previously honoured for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee and Martin Scorsese. Sir Alan Parker received the Fellowship at last year’s Film Awards.

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‘Grace Of Monaco’ To Open Cannes Film Festival In World Premiere

cannes film festivalOlivier Dahan’s Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman will kick off the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, out of competition. There was some confusion yesterday when The Weinstein Co moved Grace off of its previously scheduled March 14 U.S. release date. I suspected this might have something to do with Cannes rather than with reported strife between Harvey Weinstein and director Dahan. Gaumont, which is distributing Grace in France, had, grace posterin December, changed its local release date from January 29 to March 19. That move was because the film had only just been finished. When I recently ran into Grace producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam in Paris, I asked him if the date might change again for a surprise Cannes berth and he gave me a cryptic “Who knows?” I’m promised the biopic about actress turned princess Grace Kelly is a stunner. The film portrays a period in her life after marrying Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth) in 1956. Six years later, amid occasional difficulties in fulfilling her role, she was invited back to Hollywood by Alfred Hitchcock, to star in Marnie. At the time, France was threatening to tax, and even annex, Monaco. The film asks the question: Was Grace still an actress or was she really Princess of Monaco? Frank Langella, Parker Posey, Jeanne Balibar, Derek Jacobi … Read More »

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R.I.P. Sarah Marshall

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 9:36pm PST

Sarah MArshall TrekThe British actress was a familiar face on TV and on Broadway during the 1950s and early ’60s, earning a Tony nom for her supporting role in 1959’s Goodbye, Charlie. Sarah Marshall died Saturday of cancer in Los Angeles. She was 80. Marshall appeared on dozens of TV shows from the mid-’50 through the mid-’90s, including such popular series as Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Get Smart, Daniel Boone, Three’s Company and Cheers. She also was a regular on the 1979 CBS comedy Miss Winslow & Son and appearedLittle Girl Lost in the 1980 miniseries Scruples. But Marshall is perhaps best known to American TV audiences for starring roles on episodes of The Twilight Zone (the worried mother in “Little Girl Lost”) and Star Trek (the disease-curing scientist an ex-flame of Capt. Kirk in “The Deadly Years”).

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R.I.P. Russell Johnson

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 1:40pm PST

2nd Annual TV Land Awards - Press RoomActor Russell Johnson, best known for playing The Professor on Gilligan’s Island, has died. He was 89. His longtime agent Mike Eisenstadt told Deadline that Johnson died this morning of natural causes at his home in Washington state. The Pennsylvania native had dozens of TV and film credits during his decades-long career, but it was as Professor Roy Hinkley in 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island for which he is best remembered. Johnson appeared on the show all three seasons it aired on CBS (1964-67). He reprised the role in The Castaways On Gilligan’s Island TV movie in 1979. Deadline recently reported that Warner Bros was planning a feature film based on the series.

Russell’s Hollywood career began in the early 1950s, with early roles mainly in westerns including 1953′s The Stand At Apache River and Tumbleweed and sci-fi pics such as It Came from Outer Space (1953), This Island Earth (1955), Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1956), and The Space Children (1958). His other TV credits include The Adventures Of Superman, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Jeffersons, MacGyver, Fame and an episode of Newhart in which he was shown watching Gilligan’s Island. Johnson’s other film credits include MacArthur, The Great Skycopter Rescue, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Off The Wall.

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Oscar Production Team Announced

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 1:58pm PST

oscar-statueBEVERLY HILLS, CA — Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron today announced 13 key members of the production team for the Oscars®, which will air on SUNDAY, MARCH 2, live on ABC.

Director Hamish Hamilton returns to the show after having directed the 82nd Oscars in March 2010. Hamilton has directed many celebrated live televised events, including the 2013 “MTV Video Music Awards,” the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Beyoncé, and the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, for which he received an Emmy® nomination. Hamilton also shared in the 2011 Peabody Award for the fifth annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” and was a 2003 Grammy Award® nominee for directing the musical special “Robbie Williams – Live at the Albert.” He will direct the upcoming 2014 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Bruno Mars.

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Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg Contract ‘Amnesia’ As Possible Post-’Pirates’ Project: Video

By | Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:57 UK

espen joachimKon-Tiki helmers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have been busy at home and abroad since their seafaring third feature scored an Oscar nomination last year. They are currently half-way through post on Beatles, a 1960s Oslo-set coming-of-age story that they’re producing and which releases in Norway on August 29th. The pair will next shoot miniseries Marco Polo for The Weinstein Co with a Netflix debut set for late 2014. Rønning tells me he and Sandberg will shoot Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, their first big studio feature, in Puerto Rico and New Orleans at the end of the year. After that, they’re in the process of lining up a more intimate project as their potential post-Pirates gig. The pair has acquired U.S. remake rights to Amnesia, a Norwegian thriller by second-time helmer Nini Bull Robsahm which was released locally on January 10th. The story centers on writers Thomas and Kathrine who spend a weekend on a remote island. After a fight in which Thomas hits his head and loses his memory, Kathrine sees an opportunity to escape the violent relationship. Rønning says, “If you’re examining the projects we’re directing this year, it’s tempting for us to also look for more intimate stories to tell — with graspable budgets.” He calls Amnesia, “a brilliant story with an original concept and a strong emotional core. It’s … Read More »

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Comedy Central Gives Series Order To Ben Stiller-Produced ‘Big Time In Hollywood, FL’

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 10:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

stillerComedy Central has picked up to series pilot Big Time In Hollywood, FL with a 10-episode order. The project, produced by Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is written by Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. It follows two delusional brothers and self-proclaimed filmmakers, played by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson, who are kicked out of their parents’ house and forced to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives, leading them on an epic journey in pursuit of their American dream. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky play the brothers’ parents, and Jon Bass co-stars in the series, whose pilot was directed by Schimpf. “Ben, Alex and alexdanDan have fulfilled my career-long dream of having a show based in Hollywood, FL,” said Comedy Central president of original programming Kent Alterman. Added Stiller, “Big Time combines the directorial style of Hitchcock, the acting prowess of Streep, the budget of House Of Payne, and the nutritional value of Velveeta. I think people’s minds will be blown wide open. For real.” Stiller is executive producing the series with Anfanger and Schimpf, along with Red Hour’s  Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein, and Brillstein’s Lee Kernis and Brian Stern. Read More »

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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Sweeps National Society Of Film Critics Top Awards

By | Saturday January 4, 2014 @ 2:15pm PST

Inside Llewyn DavisThe 56 member-strong National Society of Film Critics today helped CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis bounce back from its PGA and WGA snubs, awarding the 1960s-set folk music drama Best Picture, Best Director for Joel and Ethan Coen, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac‘s turn as the eponymous singer-songwriter, and Best Cinematography. The boost came the same day CBS took out a full-page For Your Consideration ad in the New York Times pulling a select portion of this Dec. 30 Tweet by NYT critic A.O. Scott: “I’m gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.” Whatever works? Scroll down for full NSFC awards: Read More »

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R.I.P. Saul Zaentz

By | Friday January 3, 2014 @ 7:32pm PST

Saul Zaentz deadUPDATED: The producer who won Best Picture Oscars in three different decades died tonight in the Bay Area. Saul Zaentz was 92. He won the Academy’s biggest prize for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984) and The English Patient (1996), and produced such other films as The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Goya’s Ghosts and the 1978 animated version of The Lord Of The Rings directed by Ralph Bakshi. He also received the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Producers Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award and BAFTA’s Academy Fellowship.

Over his long career, Zaentz produced several notable films adapted from literary works, including Cuckoo’s Nest (based on Ken Kesey’s novel), which earned he and then-young producer Michael Douglas five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It was Douglas’ first feature film producing credit. Cuckoo’s Nests Oscar wins were notable because it was the first film since 1934′s It Happened One Night to win all five top Oscar categories. It also earned Jack Nicholson and Douglas their first Academy Awards.

When he joined with Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Forman again for 1984′s Amadeus, about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, they again swept the Academy Awards — this time winning eight including Best Picture, Director and Actor for F. Murray Abraham. And in 1997, Zaentz produced The English Patient, which for third time during his career led to a sweep of the Academy Awards, winning nine Oscars including for Best Picture, Best Director for Anthony Minghella (who died in 2008), a Best Actor nomination for the young Ralph Fiennes and Best Supporting Actress for Juliette Binoche (who worked with Zaentz years earlier in The Unbearable Lightness of Being).

Related: In Memoriam: Notable Deaths Of 2013

Never one to shy away from what he believed in, Zaentz became involved in a heated battle for many years with Miramax Films over monies owed from The English Patient and was outspoken about it not only for himself but on behalf of the actors and his director Minghella. But that was not his first legal wrangling. He was unafraid and unabashed to go head to head against companies for artists and himself. He also always went on the record with journalists, never hiding behind anonymity. He led a colorful and eventful life and was part of the Greatest Generation of those who served in the Army in World War II and, at one point, he made a living as a gambler. He was born Feb. 28, 1921, in Passaic, N.J., and relocated to St. Louis during his teens before moving to San Francisco.

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R.I.P. Oscar Nominee Juanita Moore

By | Wednesday January 1, 2014 @ 5:03pm PST

Juanita Moore deadThe groundbreaking actress who scored an Academy Award nom for Imitation Of Life died yesterday at her LA home. Juanita Moore was thought to be 99. She was the fifth black actor to get an Oscar nomination, for her supporting role as the friend of star Lana Turner’s character in the 1959 tearjerker. Moore also earned a Golden Globe nomination for the film. (Susan Kohner, who played Moore’s daughter in Imitation Of Life, also got a supporting actress nom.) The Los Angeles native began her career as a Cotton Club chorus girl and made her feature film debut in Pinky (1949) and went on to appear in pics including The Girl Can’t Help It, The Singing Nun, Uptight and years later Disney’s The Kid. Her TV credits include episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Adam-12, Judging Amy and ER. She also was a stage actress, with stints at LA’s Ebony Showcase Theatre in the early 1950s, a Broadway turn in The Amen Corner and in a London production of A Raisin in the Sun.

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OSCARS: Sundance Selects Ramps Up ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Star’s Best Actress Bid (Video)

Pete Hammond

At just 19 years old, new French acting sensation Adele Exarchopoulos became the youngest winner ever of the Cannesblue-is-the-warmest-color-movie Film Festival’s Palme d’Or when the jury — led by Steven Spielberg — made an unprecedented move this past spring. It awarded not only Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s director Abdellatif Kechiche the festival’s top prize as is the norm, but in a surprise move also its two extraordinary stars (Lea Seydoux rounded out the trio onstage at the Palais).  But then Blue Is The Warmest Color is no ordinary movie, and distributor Sundance Selects is hoping Oscar voters get the message too: Though not eligible to compete this year for Best Foreign Language Film due to its late release in France, it is eligible in other categories, and the distrib just crafted a new trailer focusing on Exarchopoulos that is aimed squarely at the Academy. Check it out:

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A three-hour study of the intense romance between a teenage girl and an older lesbian , the NC-17 film has caused waves wherever it’s played. But as Spielberg explained, the Cannes jury saw it only as simply a great love story. For Exarchopoulos, who recently turned 20, it was, and continues to be, a pretty heady experience as she explained when I recently interviewed her for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. “It was my first Cannes Film Festival”, she told me. “We thought our reaction would be more divided, like some people hate and some people love it — but almost everyone liked it. After the ceremony it was like a dream. I mean you never realize what it’s like to win such a prize at 19. Yeah , it was cool.”

Related: Sundance Selects To Release ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ With NC-17 Rating

FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNESExarchopoulos also has a refreshing, unfiltered attitude toward acting — and in this case, those talked-about nude scenes. In fact she said although she knew her co-star by reputation (Seydoux is a huge star in France) she didn’t meet her until she was on the set for the first nude scene. “The first thing we did together is the sex scene, the dream scene, so when you meet someone naked it’s so different,” Exarchopoulos said. “We said hello and two minutes after we’re naked and we’re like, ‘OK, let’s do this’.  There is no hypocrisy and she doesn’t try to force things and try to be friends because of the shoot. Everything came naturally. She’s more experienced than me so I was feeling from her because she’s really good, and I was lucky to play with her. It really helps to introduce you naked. I mean you’re vulnerable, there is no chickening out. You’re just yourself and you have to make body language.” Read More »

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Josh Hamilton Joins Fox’s ‘Gracepoint’, Joanna Adler Added To ‘Devious Maids’

By | Friday December 20, 2013 @ 2:06pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

joshhamiltonJosh Hamilton, who is coming off American Horror Story: Coven, has been cast in another limited series, Fox’s Gracepoint, a remake of the UK’s Broadchurch. The project, from Shine America and Kudos, centers on Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant), the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder of 11-year-old Danny that puts a small town under scrutiny. Hamilton, repped by UTA, will play Joe Miller, Det. Ellie Miller’s (Anna Gunn) husband.

joannaadlerJoanna P. Adler has joined Lifetime’s dramedy Devious Maids, from ABC Studios, as a new series regular. She will play Opal, a new maid who is secretive & conniving, reminiscent of Mrs. Danvers from Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Adler, repped by Liebman Entertainment and Schreck Rose, recently recurred on Orange is the New Black & 30 Rock. She joins fellow new Maids regular Dominic Adams.

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‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Had Its Own Consigliere For R-Rating In Tom Sherak; Exhibs Waiting To See How It Plays In Peoria

By | Monday December 16, 2013 @ 6:47pm PST

15-outrageous-scenes-in-martin-scorseses-wolf-of-wall-street-we-cant-wait-to-seeMartin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street will be released wide by Paramount Pictures on Christmas Day with a three-hour play time and an R-rating that some who have seen the film are surprised it received from the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration. Exhibitors who’ve seen it have called it everything from “rough” to “the hardest R I’ve ever seen from a major Hollywood studio.”

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’

Most think it will play well on the coasts but question how audiences will react in Middle America once they realize the movie is quite different from what the ads indicate. (One exhib I spoke with Friday said it might be another Django Unchained – referring to the Quentin Tarantino pic that despite its violent content played well across the country.)

The Wolf of Wall StreetFor Wolf Of Wall Street, the studio’s marketing team cut together a slick advertising campaign selling the party aspects of the film, which play to the young, college crowd (the demo that floods the marketplace during holiday break). But, the content is … well, even its star Leonardo DiCaprio aptly calls it “a modern-day Caligula.”

Related: Scorsese, DiCaprio Back In Oscar Race With ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’
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