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Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Crosses $700 Million In Global Box Office

Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Crosses $700 Million In Global Box OfficeThe Not-Very-Nice Little Witch That Could keeps enchanting audiences around the globe, as Disney’sMaleficent‘ crossed the $700 million mark in global box office, Disney distribution execs said. It’s the studio’s second 2014 release to cross that high mark (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, box office champ for the first half of 2014, is the other).

Since its U.S. release on May 30, the film has tallied $228.8M domestically. Overseas, it has been extremely strong, no doubt helped by star Angelina Jolie‘s global visibility and appeal. The overall international gross has hit $471.8M so far, with big numbers out of China, Mexico, Russia and Brazil. Japan, which has a habit of keeping late-arriving Disney films in theaters for many lucrative weeks (see what happened with Frozen earlier in the year before Maleficent dethroned it), just debuted the film on July 5. Since then, it’s been No. 1 for three straight weekends, pulling in $32.7M already.

The studio said Maleficent is the year’s highest-grossing film based on an original story, (though some may quibble, given the film’s roots in Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty). It’s also Jolie’s highest-grossing live-action film ever, whether measured by domestic, international and global box office.

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Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In May

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 2:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In MayEvery studio was after it, but Universal Pictures acquired worldwide rights to the script Angelina Jolie is writing to possibly make her next movie, one she’ll star in with Brad Pitt. Deadline broke news of the project in May. It now has a title, By The Sea, and the studio says Jolie will direct. I’d heard that when I broke the story, but they weren’t admitting it at the time. Jolie and Pitt will produce.

Jolie and Donna Langley have developed a strong relationship after Langley tapped Jolie to direct Unbroken, the adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand book about the late Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini. That film bows on Christmas Day. Jolie has been fully focused on making that date, so don’t expect this next film to happen all that quickly. Read More »

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Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’: First Trailer For Louis Zamperini WWII Drama

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT

Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’: First Trailer For Louis Zamperini WWII DramaUniversal has unveiled the first trailer for Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken, the true story of World War II hero and former Olympic long distance runner Louis Zamperini. Unbroken tracks the life of the young Olympian, who enlisted in the Air Force after war broke out in 1941. After his plane went down in the Pacific, Zamperini and two crew mates survived on a raft for 47 days before being taken prisoner by the Japanese. Last week Zamperini passed away at the age of 97. Universal first bought rights to Zamperini’s life story in the 1950s. It will finally hit theaters this Christmas. Unbroken stars Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, and Alex Russell and marks Jolie’s sophomore turn as director. Take a look: Read More »

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An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American Hero

Mike Fleming

An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American HeroWhat sad pre-holiday news: American Olympian track star and WWII hero Louis Zamperini passed away last night at age 97, just one day short of Independence Day. It’s somehow poignant that Zamperini’s shadow hovers over the July 4th holiday; it comes half a year before the Universal Pictures release of Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand bestseller about a man whose unwillingness to break despite the most difficult of circumstances in a Japanese POW camp made him the personification of struggle and heroism. Part of that struggle included getting a movie made on his extraordinary life; imagine, Universal’s first attempt at a Zamperini film came in the 1950s, when Tony Curtis sparked to playing Zamperini as his follow-up to Spartacus.

louzzMany know Zamperini’s story because of the superb book by Seabiscuit author Hillenbrand, and the world will celebrate him at year’s end when Universal releases the film in Oscar season, with Jack O’Connell playing Zamperini. I have been obsessed with Zamperini since I saw a segment on his ordeal broadcast by CBS during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and have written about the movie at Variety and Deadline since then at the slightest provocation, because it seemed such a worth screen story. When CBS chronicled his story, Zamperini returned to Japan to run with the Olympic torch, covering ground not far from where he spent an unimaginably brutal stretch in a Japanese prison camp … Read More »

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R.I.P. Louis Zamperini, Olympian War Hero Is Subject Of Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’

By | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 1:27am PDT

R.I.P. Louis Zamperini, Olympian War Hero Is Subject Of Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’UPDATED: Louis Zamperini, the World War II hero and former Olympic long distance runner, has died. The subject of Angelina Jolie‘s upcoming sophomore directorial effort Unbroken, Zamperini was 97. Universal, which announced his passing this morning, had developed the Unbroken project for close to 55 years when it finally got off the ground with Jolie signed to direct in December 2012. The script is based on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and louis zamperini olympicsRedemption, by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand. Zamperini was a Depression era kid who became a track prodigy and was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team that traveled to Berlin for the 1936 games. He didn’t medal, but was so impressive that Hitler asked to meet him. The 1940 Olympics in Tokyo were cancelled due to the war, and in 1941, Zamperini enlisted in the Air Force. When his plane went down in the Pacific during a rescue mission, Zamperini and two other crew mates survived on a raft in the hot sun for 47 days. They were ultimately caught by the Japanese Navy, beginning a terrifying term of captivity that lasted until the end of the war in 1945. Universal first bought Zamperini’s rights back in the 1950s.

As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr has written, “Few movies gestate as long as this one, but it’s clear from Hillenbrand’s remarkable book that it … Read More »

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Angelina Jolie-Starrer ‘Maleficent’ Casting $600M Worldwide Spell

Angelina Jolie-Starrer ‘Maleficent’ Casting $600M Worldwide SpellAfter five weeks in release, and just before it hits its last overseas market, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty spinoff Maleficent is poised to cross $600M worldwide today. The studio notes this is its 2nd release of the year to pass the threshold, and its 20th ever. Directed by Robert Stromberg and starring Angelina Jolie, the film started rolling out internationally on May 28 and opened in North America on May 30. It bowed there at No. 1 with $69.4M and has remained in the Top Five since. It crossed $200M domestically this weekend, and through July 1 is at $205M. At the weekend, it hit $383.7M at the international box office, having added $18.3M in 54 overseas territories. It is the 4th highest grossing film of the year and Jolie’s biggest live-action film of her career. The biggest offshore markets have been Mexico, currently at $43.2M, and China where it opened June 20 and has taken in nearly $40M. Maleficent is expected to surpass $400M overseas just ahead of its July 5 debut in Japan where, I suspect, it may finally be the film that dethrones Frozen. The latter, also a Disney movie, has been No. 1 for 16 consecutive weeks but saw one of its bigger drops this past frame, adding $2.7M.

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‘Maleficent’s Robert Stromberg Closing On ‘Ted’ For Most Successful In Losing Helming Virginity

By | Monday June 23, 2014 @ 4:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

‘Maleficent’s Robert Stromberg Closing On ‘Ted’ For Most Successful In Losing Helming VirginityUPDATE: Well, my bad on this one. Robert Stromberg has a ways to go before his camp can claim the first timer worldwide gross record. Right now, that resides with Seth MacFarlane, whose feature debut Ted grossed $549 million worldwide. They can call me back if he eclipses the mark as his reps had claimed. I forgot about MacFarlane.

With Maleficent reaching $521 million, Robert Stromberg has set the global box office record for the biggest-grossing live-action directing debut. He has toppled Joseph Kosinski, whose first outing Tron Legacy grossed just slightly more than $400 million worldwide. Stromberg far outpaces Rupert Sanders, who came up just short of passing Kosinski when he directed Snow White And The Huntsman, which grossed $396 million. In setting his record, Kosinski beat JJ Abrams, whose Mission: Impossible III grossed $398 million.

strombergNow, people still dispute whether the $170 million Tron Legacy was a hit or not, and some might feel that with today’s escalating budgets that breaking the first-timer record is no big deal. I’d argue it’s quite an accomplishment. Consider the other highly touted first time shooters who didn’t fare nearly as well. Wally Pfister made his directorial debut after a long career as an ace cinematographer for such filmmakers as Chris Nolan. He helmed Alcon’s Transcendence, the Johnny Depp film that was a colossal flop, costing $100 million and grossing only $78 million worldwide. The other big debut came from Carl Rinsch, the commercials wiz who helmed 47 Ronin. Another massive flop, it cost $170 million and grossed $151 million worldwide for Universal. Read More »

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Can Angelina Jolie Rescue Ronan Farrow From Ratings Plight?

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 2:36pm PDT

The Cinema Society And Johnston & Murphy Host A Screening Of Sony Pictures Classics' "Kill Your Darlings" - ArrivalsMSNBC announced this morning Ronan Farrow will sit down with Angelina Jolie in London on Friday to discuss her efforts to help end sexual violence in conflict zones.  Jolie is the co-host of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence, the largest global meeting ever held on the subject of sexual violence in war.  The interview, which will air on Friday’s Ronan Farrow Daily at 1 PM ET, makes perfect sense — Farrow being the son of Mia Farrow, and Mia Farrow being Angelina Jolie before Jolie was Angelina Jolie — an actress well-known for using her celebrity to promote various humanitarian causes. Today’s announcement led to some speculation that Farrow – the son Angelina-Jolie-visits-Syrian-refugees-in-Turkeyof Woody Allen (or maybe Frank Sinatra, according to mom Mia in an interview last fall with Vanity Fair) – may have a future on MSNBC snagging celebrity interviews.

Farrow needs something new to do at MSNBC, where, in June to date, he’s clocked just 201,000 viewers — 42,000 in the news demo. That’s 27% and 42% lower than his first-month stats which, in turn, were nothing to write home about. Compared to one year ago, Farrow’s launch-to-now ratings are down 28% in overall audience, and 30% in the news demo, versus MSNBC’s … Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Maleficent’ Conjures $20.1M In 35 Overseas Markets Ahead Of Weekend Expansion

MALEFICENT-posterUPDATE, FRIDAY 10:20 AM: After bowing in a handful of territories on Wednesday, Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent expanded on Thursday to a total 35 markets including Russia, Germany, Korea, Brazil and Australia. Along with the UK, France, Italy and others which got the Disney movie on Wednesday, the total two-day overseas take is $20.1M. In the UK on Wednesday, Jolie had her best-ever opening at $2.5M (with Thursday added in, the UK now stands at $4.6M). Thursday’s $2.1M Germany opening was likewise a milestone for the actress who’s been absent from live-action movies since 2010. Russia opened to $2.4M on Thursday and France was a big No. 1 among new openers with $2.1M on Wednesday. Spain and Mexico open today with some smaller territories that will make for a total of 47 through the weekend. There will be numbers galore in the next few days as international rollouts also begin on Tom Cruise-starrer Edge Of Tomorrow and Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West.

PREVIOUS, THURSDAY 10:23 AM PT: Disney’s Maleficent is off to a strong start internationally. The Angelina Jolie starrer brought in $2.5M yesterday in the UK and Ireland, which the studio says was above expectations. The twist on the Sleeping Beauty tale largely shot in the UK, at London-adjacent Pinewood Studios, and also stars Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Sam Riley. The UK bow surpassed the first … Read More »

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BOX OFFICE PREVIEW: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Opens To Magnificent $4.2M Late Nights; Seth MacFarlane’s ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ Looks To Tonight’s Numbers

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Weekend Box Office Preview

Deadline film editor Anita Busch and Dominic Patten look ahead at the weekend box office, with 'Maleficent' a good bet for the No. 1 spot.

hr_Maleficent_42UPDATED: FRIDAY, 9:00 AM: Maleficent opened last night and conjured up a magnificent $4.2M for Disney, readying for the weekend box office blast by clearly bringing in the adult audience. It has been tracking anywhere between $60M to $70M and now you can bet on the high end (maybe $68M). Maleficent grossed above the $3.9M that Alice in Wonderland grossed in 2010 when it bowed at midnight and also the $2M gross at 9 p.m. with Oz: The Great and Powerful, which ended up with an opening weekend of $79.1M  (but that was a better picture).

IMAX is estimating that it took in 13.3% of that $4.2M late night gross or about $560K. X-Men didn’t have the benefit of IMAX last weekend because Godzilla had a stronghold on those screens; they did have large formats though via other exhibs.

Disney sold the picture on a trailer that clearly made it seem too scary for small children, but the kids I was in the theater with on Wednesday night seemed to enjoy it. The five and six year olds were a bit frightened.  It’s a great start to the weekend for this picture. Will be interesting to see what kind of CinemaScore it gets tonight. Right now, Disney’s in-house research shows that the film skewing 54% female and 46% male.

Still waiting to see how the Seth speaks movie plays out as well as how good a hold/how far a drop (depending on your perspective) this weekend will see for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Godzilla dropped 67% in its second weekend, X-Men: The Last Stand also dropped 67% in its sophomore frame after the Memorial Day holiday. Captain America: The Winter Soldier dropped about 51% in its second frame while ASM2 dropped 59%.

A_Million_Ways_To_Die_In_The_West_-_mov-2500_1600x1200_2460232490_genSpeaking of dropping, Seth speaks … I mean A Million Ways to Die in the West … was muted in late night Thursdays (8 p.m.), making only around $891K in 2,290, according to estimates this morning. However, it’s really not a great indicator of the entire weekend … best wait to see tonight’s numbers.

Enough about Seth, what about Angie who is the most watchable character in the movie. Anecdotally, Maleficent is No. 5 behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Neighbors and X-Men: Days of Future Past in terms of social media activity over the past 30 days, according to RelishMix which tracks social engagement of the Big Three (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter). “Fans are engaged with Maleficent YouTube trailers up to an earned/owned ratio of 11 to 1, showing growing intent especially for a family movie,” says RelishMix CEO Marc Karzen. On Facebook and Twitter, Angelina Jolie’s fans are looking for Brad Pitt being socked on the red carpet by the idiot, attention-seeking Ukranian.

Fandango reports that its pre-sales are outselling Maleficent producer Joe Roth’s Oz: The Great and Powerful which opened in March of last year as well as Snow White and the Huntsman (which Uni opened June 1, 2012) at the same point in the sales cycle. This looks like its gonna be two out of three for Roth so far … although Million Dollar Arm didn’t perform as anyone would have liked at Disney, Sony’s Heaven is For Real from filmmaker Randall Wallace is already up to $87.2M and still playing out. Oz: The Great and Powerful ended up with $493.3M worldwide (split pretty evenly between domestic and international) in 2013. Is it any wonder that Disney and Roth are doing a sequel?

PREVIOUSLY: THURS, 1:15 PM: Maleficent-Official-TrailerMaleficent, the Disney fantasy movie starring Angelina Jolie that has a trailer that’s scarier than the film itself (which is good news or bad news, depending on your age group), is opening tonight at 7 p.m. This weekend, the CGI fractured — uh, dark — fairy tale will be in 3,948 theaters of which 2,951 will be 3-D, on 346 Imax screens and on 213 large-format screens (and 121 D-Box locations). So, see ya, Godzilla; it was fun while it lasted.

Maleficent is expected to easily take the No. 1 box office spot this weekend, followed by last weekend’s opener, X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is tracking right now in the high $30Ms. Saturday should be an interesting day for Maleficent given that it’ll be its first family moviegoing day. The film already is opening above expectations overseas. Tracking currently has it between $60M and $70M.

Related: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Opens With $2.5M In UK As International Rollout Begins

Read More »

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Only U.S.-Based News Corp Phone-Hacking Suit Dismissed; Angelina Jolie’s Stunt Double Must Pursue Case In UK

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 12:39pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEConfirming his tentative ruling from February, a federal judge has formally dismissed the U.S.-based phone-hacking scandal suit against News Corp filed last June by a stunt double for Angelina Jolie. “The underlying facts here do not seem to be in dispute, at least by these parties. It appears, and certainly is alleged, that Plaintiff Eunice Huthart has suffered a grotesque invasion of her privacy,” said Judge Michael huthart jolieFitzgerald this week, granting the dismissal motion by the media giant in the first and only American-based suit in the wide-reaching scandal. “Nonetheless … the Court concludes that Huthart must obtain her relief from the courts of England and Wales,” he added in the order (read it here) filed Wednesday. Despite attempts by Huthart in March to keep the case in the U.S. with an argument that a move to the British courts would be the “litigation equivalent of purgatory,” this latest order is almost verbatim what the judge said in his tentative ruling in February.

Related: Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins

In her initial complaint filed on June 13, 2013, the England-born Huthart — whose most recent gig was as a stunt coordinator on Disney’s upcoming Maleficent starring Jolie — claimed her cell phone was hacked in 2004 while staying in the U.S. and working with Jolie on Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Her fears turned out to be correct when Huthart’s name and phone number later turned up in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the jailed P.I. who worked for the now-shuttered Rupert Murdoch tabloid News Of The World. That hacking seems to be connected to a number of stories about the early days of Jolie’s relationship with her Smith co-star Brad Pitt. Read More »

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Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt Teaming On New Project She Wrote

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 3:50pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Brad PittjolieEXCLUSIVE: Here is a film that instantly becomes the one every studio will want on their slate. Angelina Jolie is in early talks to star with Brad Pitt in an original script that she has written. It’s in the early talking stages and nothing is solidified, but I hear it’s happening. I don’t know a lot more at this point.

Related: Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ As Executive Producer

The film hasn’t locked distribution, but it will team Jolie and Pitt together for the first time since 2005′s Mr. And Mrs. Smith. That film displayed an intense chemistry onscreen, and this was before they became a couple offscreen. Jolie is working on post-production on Unbroken, the adaptation she directed of the Laura Hillenbrand book. Universal has set a December 25 release for the harrowing survival tale of Olympic track prodigy-turned-WWII POW Lou Zamperini. It’s expected to be right in the Oscar mix. Unbroken was a hotly contested directing project, and Jolie won the job with a presentation that wowed the studio, where Donna Langley also was very impressed with her directorial debut, In The Land Of Blood And Honey. She next stars in Disney’s Maleficent, which opens May 30 with Jolie playing the title character in the revisionist version of the fairy tale.

Related:Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 10:52am PDT

Disney is ramping up its fairy tale pic Maleficent with the latest trailer for the Angelina Jolie-starrer, which provides more of a look at the interaction between the evil sorceress and the object of her scorn Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). The pic’s last trailer debuted during the Grammys. It opens May 30.

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OSCARS: A Selfie-Important Academy Awards Honors Our Past And Our Future And Hits Just The Right Notes

By | Monday March 3, 2014 @ 6:43am PST
Pete Hammond

In the end the Academy Awards fell right into place with every other awards show this season. Gravity got LOTS of love but it ended with 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen making the big Oscars selfie Ellenacceptance speech of the night for Best Picture — just like it went at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, BAFTA, PGA and others. It’s a weird year when a blockbuster picture like Gravity can win seven Oscars including Best Director yet lose the big one. But science fiction is not a category the Oscars have ever embraced in that way, and this year was no exception. In 1977 Star Wars also won seven Oscars yet lost in the end to Best Pic winner Annie Hall, which only picked up four awards overall much like Slave’s haul of three nods this year. The record still stands though with 1972′s Cabaret winning eight Oscars but losing ultimately to The Godfather which won only three including Best Picture.

Related:
OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
OSCARS: 2014 Winners Photo Gallery

86th Annual Academy Awards - ShowHow do you explain it? It’s called spreading the wealth but wanting to save your most important award for a movie that has real gravitas, one that breaks barriers over what the Academy has ever done before. A movie directed by a black person has never before won nor has a film that so harrowingly details one aspect of the black experience. 12 Years A Slave may have depicted the dark side of this country in a way Oscar had never before recognized, but the Academy wanted to spotlight that and reward it with its highest prize in a year of great films about the black experience. In fact the whole show was full of diversity including numerous black presenters and the Best Director award to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron.

Related:
OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
Backstage At The Oscars

Read More »

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News Corp Gets Angelina Jolie Stuntwoman’s U.S. Phone-Hacking Suit Tossed

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 10:12am PST

DJP LEGAL BADGEThe Stateside phone hacking-scandal suit that a former body double for Angelina Jolie filed against News Corp last summer looks likely to end up in the U.K. if a federal judge doesn’t change his mind. Before a hearing Monday on the company’s motion to dismiss, Judge Michael Fitzgerald said in a tentative ruling that Eunice Huthart‘s case belonged in “the courts of New-News-Corp-logo__130528181445-200x71__130923205616England and Wales” not the U.S.

Alleging that her phone was tampered with in 2004 while living with Jolie in L.A., Huthart’s initial complaint on June 13 was the first hacking scandal suit filed against News Corp and its UK Press arm in the U.S. Back in September of last year, News Corp and News International filed their motion to toss the case or have it move to Britain. After issuing his tentative and hearing arguments from lawyers representing the English-born stuntwoman and the media corporation, Judge Fitzgerald said he would take the matter under submission (read it here). Though it happens, it is very unusual for a judge to reverse himself after issuing such a clear tentative.

Related: Phone-Hacking Trial – Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins

Eunice-Huthart__130618160954-200x130As has proven the case in many of the suits in the on-going hacking-scandal, the longtime ex-Jolie stuntwoman’s allegations are years old. Huthart, whose most recent gig … Read More »

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Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ Previewed During Olympics: Video

By | Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 2:52pm PST

Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken got a first-look tease today during the Olympics in an extended preview profiling Louis Zamperini, the Olympian-turned-WWII POW whose life story gets the big screen treatment this Christmas. Jack O’Connell plays the younger Zamperini with Japan’s Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai Courtney in supporting roles. The Universal release marks Jolie’s second feature as helmer following 2011′s In the Land Of Blood And Honey. Check it out:

Related: First Look Photo: ‘Unbroken’s Angelina Jolie & Louis Zamperini

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Hot Trailer: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’

By | Sunday January 26, 2014 @ 7:00pm PST

Disney scored during tonight Grammys with a new trailer for Maleficent that featured a haunting cover of the Sleeping Beauty classic ditty “Once Upon A Dream,” crooned with a touch of menace by Lana Del Rey. The fairytale twister opens May 30 and stars Angelina Jolie as the eponymous evil sorceress who tangles with young Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) in Disney’s live-action dark fantasy:

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Hot Teaser: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 2:47pm PST

Here’s a longer look at Angelina Jolie and those wicked cheekbones in Disney‘s Maleficent, which tells the classic Sleeping Beauty tale from the evil sorceress’ POV. Elle Fanning stars as the snoozing princess opposite Jolie in the VFX-heavy live-actioner helmed by production designer-turned-director Robert Stromberg. This promo vid, which aired on Disney Channel, blends scenes from Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty with the May 30 3D release:
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Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ As Executive Producer

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 6:08pm PST

Sundance2014_badge__140109214059The actress and director of the upcoming Unbroken is now on board as one of the EPs of the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Dramatic Competition film Difret. The announcement that Angelina Jolie has joined the Ethiopian pic comes just days before its January 18 world premiere in Park City. The Oscar-winning actress also will be taking a presentation credit on the film. No word yet if that will change the title of the film. From first-time feature The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Governor Awards - Arrivalsdirector Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Difret tells the tale of a girl and a female lawyer who take on the Ethiopian tradition of “telefa”, or marriage by abduction. “This film is a strong moment for art in Ethiopia”, said Jolie in a statement today. “It is inspiring to see such an important story so beautifully illustrated with such creative talent. It draws out the richness of Ethiopian culture and shows how important legal advances can be made while respecting local culture. It is a story that gives hope for Ethiopia’s future, and for other countries where countless girls grow up without the protection of laws that shield them and their bodies, and shows how the courage of brave individuals can awaken the conscience of a society.” Read More »

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