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‘Blancanieves’ Tops Spain’s Goya Awards With 10 Prizes; ‘The Impossible’ Wins 5

Pablo Berger’s black and white and silent rendering of Snow White won the top Goya in Spain on Sunday night. The Spanish Oscars gave Blancanieves the Best Film prize along with Best Actress for Maribel Verdú and Best Original Screenplay for Berger. It won seven other prizes for a total of 10 out of its leading 18 nominations. The Impossible‘s Juan Antonio Bayona was named Best Director. The tsunami drama that stars Ewan McGregor and Oscar nominated Naomi Watts was also a winner in four other categories including Editing and Special Effects. It had 14 nominations going in. Click over for a full list of winners. Read More »

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Goya Nominations Announced In Spain, ‘Blancanieves Nabs 18, ‘The Impossible’ Scores 14

By | Tuesday January 8, 2013 @ 5:44am PST

Although Blancanieves missed making the shortlist for the foreign language Oscar, the entry from Spain leads nominations for the Goyas, the country’s equivalent to the Academy Awards. Pablo Berger’s black-and-white and silent re-telling of Snow White has 18 nods in total including picture, director, original screenplay and editing. It also has six actors up for prizes including leads Maribel Verdú and Daniel Giménez Cacho. Juan Antonio Bayona’s critical and box office success The Impossible scored 14 nominations including picture, director, actress for Naomi Watts and supporting actor for Ewan McGregor. Their young co-star Tom Holland also got a nod for best newcomer. The other most heavily-nominated films are Unit 7 from director Alberto Rodríguez with 16 nods and Fernando Trueba’s The Artist And The Model with 13. The awards ceremony will be held February 17 in Madrid. Here’s a full list of nominees (in Spanish).

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Specialty Preview: ‘The Impossible’, ‘Promised Land’, ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’ Hope To Gain Momentum

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

The first weekend of 2013 has barely any new specialty releases. One exception is Magnolia Pictures’ action-thriller A Dark Truthdirected by Damian Lee and starring Andy Garcia, Kim Coates and Deborah Kara Unger, will have a limited opening in Miami. Post-holiday attention on limited releases will focus on holdovers and expansions, including Lionsgate-Summit’s The Impossible, Focus Features’ Promised Land and Hyde Park On Hudson, and The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, and others.

The Naomi Watts-Ewan McGregor starrer The Impossible had a relatively meager start, averaging $8,250 in 15 locations two weekends ago, but it managed a rare feat last weekend increasing its average to $12,300 in the same 15 theaters. The film about a family caught in the South Asian tsumami has grossed an additional $145,721 in the same cinemas Monday through Wednesday ahead of its hefty expansion into 572 locations beginning Friday. Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Scores Powerful $82K Per Theater’; ‘Amour’ Strong, ‘On The Road’, ‘The Impossible’ Soft

By | Sunday December 23, 2012 @ 9:52am PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty opened Wednesday with the highest-ever midweek per-theater debut at $24,969 and 5-theater opening-day total of $124,848 and it’s having a great pre-Christmas weekend. Sony’s decision to delay the movie’s release until after the presidential election and to go with a limited debut appears to have paid off. The controversial but critically praised heavyweight grossed a whopping $410K at only five locations and handily won the highest per screen average of any film in theatrical release with $82,000. That is just shy of Lincoln’s $85,846 average when it opened in 11 theaters in early November and it is well ahead of Bigelow’s Oscar winner The Hurt Locker‘s $36,338 average when it opened in 4 theaters in June of 2009. Named Best Picture by a slew of critics groups including The New York Film Critics Circle, Zero Dark Thirty will head to wide release January 11th, the day after Oscar nominations are announced.

Related: Acting CIA Chief: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Is “Not A Realistic Portrayal”

Sony Pictures Classics’ Palme d’Or and LA Film Critics winner Amour bowed solidly this weekend — the only new title among specialty films to fare so well. Amour averaged $23,554 in three theaters in its platform debut. Smaller audiences went along for the ride with IFC Films’ On The Road despite its star power. Road averaged $10,800 in 4 locations. Lionsgate-Summit’s The Impossible averaged a middling $9,250 from 15 theaters, while Paramount Vantage’s Not Fade Away took an average of $6,333 in three runs.

Amour’s arrival had momentum with its Cannes Film Festival win and other accolades, but its tough subject matter – a husband and wife confronting mortality – nevertheless made it a challenge. Its weekend average topped director Michael Haneke’s previous Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon, which opened with a $19,949 average in three theaters in 2009 and far outpaced his $11,402 opening average for Cache in 2005. SPC co-president Michael Barker Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘On The Road,’ ‘Amour,’ ‘The Impossible,’ ‘Not Fade Away’

By | Thursday December 20, 2012 @ 4:12pm PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

Two Cannes titles finally make it to theaters this holiday weekend in the specialty arena. Palme d’Or winner Amour has picked up critical accolades although its tough subject matter may prove a challenge for audiences. IFC Films’ On The Road has some star wattage from Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund in the screen version of the 20th century American classic. Also taking on some tough subject matter is Toronto’s The Impossible starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor based on a true story of survival during the 2004 tsunami. And Not Fade Away will roll out under the Paramount Vantage label after an extensive run at festivals and word-of-mouth screenings.

On The Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writers: Jose Rivera (screenplay), Jack Kerouac (novel)
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Amy Adams
Distributor: IFC Films

This one has been a long time coming. Francis Ford Coppola first picked up rights to the On The Road novel in 1979 and served as executive producer on the film after asking Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles to take on the project. Salles spent a good deal of time researching the period known popularly as the Beat Generation and even filmed a documentary about On The Road before undertaking the feature. Kirsten Dunst was the first to come on board a number of years ago and Kristen Stewart actually first joined before undertaking her first Twilight Saga installment. Into The Wild director Sean Penn suggested her. The feature screened this year at the Cannes Film Festival, but IFC Films picked up the title prior to its debut there.  Read More »

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Oscars: Parties, Q&As, Campaigning More Rampant Than Ever As Voting Continues

Pete Hammond

Joaquin Phoenix and Anthony Hopkins may not approve, but Oscar season campaigning on the party circuit has been at fever pitch.

“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re exhausted. We are out every night it seems and the invitations keep coming,”  one Oscar-winning Academy member told me recently. He was referring to the glut of invites to parties, lunches, screenings with Q&As and everything else for which Oscar season campaigning has come to be known. He pointedly added that none of it has ever influenced his vote but he is not turning down the elaborate food spreads and the chance to mingle with contenders. “Just don’t tell anyone who invites me to these things, but  it doesn’t really have much impact on the way I fill out my ballot,”  he added with a smile.

That won’t stop Oscar strategists from trying and the campaign activity this season seems like it pushed into high gear much earlier than normal and hasn’t let up, even as the Christmas break quickly approaches and the town starts to shut down. Don’t tell that to the relentless Weinstein Company who will still have some of their contenders out on the stump even over this holiday weekend. Quentin Tarantino who, despite seeing his Los Angeles premiere for Django Unchained cancelled Tuesday night out of sensitivity to the Newtown tragedy, was out doing a Q&A and reception for a packed screening at the Academy last night and will be doing the same thing for BAFTA-LA Friday night. Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Ewan McGregor

By | Wednesday December 12, 2012 @ 11:00pm PST

Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.

Ewan McGregor has played a lot of different kinds of roles since he first rose to prominence in 1996’s Trainspotting, but there’s one that has eluded his grasp: parenthood. In the December release The Impossible, the real-life father of four plays a man whose family is torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He struggles to keep his two young sons safe amidst the chaos while searching feverishly for his wife, played by Naomi Watts, and eldest son, played by Tom Holland. Though it’s the third film he’s appeared in this year after Haywire and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, McGregor doesn’t take much time off. He recently spoke with AwardsLine from the set of August: Osage County, which is currently shooting in Bartlesville, OK.

AwardsLine: How did you first hear about The Impossible?
Ewan McGregor: I heard about it through my agent, and I knew about J.A. Bayona and his film The Orphanage, although I don’t think I’d seen it until I’d read the script for The Impossible. I knew Naomi was attached—I’ve worked with Naomi before—and, yes, after reading the script I was left with no doubt. I didn’t know at the time that it was a true story, but there was something very honest and true about the writing. Another one of the main draws for me was that it was the first time in my career that I explored parenthood, although I’ve been a dad for a long time. I must’ve had some kids in films before, but not many, and I’ve never made a film that’s really about that relationship between you and your kids.

Related: OSCARS Q&A: Naomi Watts Read More »

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Angelina Jolie Hosts UK Screening Of ‘The Impossible’ To Stump For Ewan McGregor

By | Monday November 19, 2012 @ 3:46pm PST

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage

Angelina Jolie stepped out in London on Sunday night to mark an endorsement for her friend Ewan McGregor and his turn in Juan Antonio Bayona’s tsunami story The Impossible. She laid on drinks at the Soho Hotel along with a private screening of the film for about 30 invited guests — including fellow thesps Noomi Rapace, Peter Capaldi and Game Of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. These sorts of third-party-endorsed “influencer” campaigns are increasingly popular in Hollywood, where recently Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land received similar airings by the unaffiliated likes of Cameron Crowe and Aaron Sorkin. But they’re new to the UK, where most awards screenings follow the traditional actor and director Q&A format. At the event, Jolie said, “Ewan, I’ve known you for years and you’re one of my favorite actors. But I watched this and I didn’t recognize you. It’s strange; to say it’s one of the best performances of the year doesn’t really give it credit. It doesn’t feel like a performance; it comes from such an honest place.” Representing The Impossible ahead of its UK premiere on Monday were 16-year-old co-star Tom Holland, screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez and composer Fernando Velázquez.

Related: ‘The Impossible’ Exclusive Featurette: Video

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‘The Impossible’ Exclusive Featurette: Video

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE:  One of the sleeper entries in this year’s Oscar race is the emotionally wrenching true story, The Impossible which chronicles a family split apart in the terrifying Tsunami in Thailand in 2004 and their efforts to survive and find each other, despite horrific injury and unspeakable devastation at the resort area where they were vacationing. Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland star in the film directed by Spain’s Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage). Distributor Summit will release the film domestically (already a smash hit in Spain since opening there in mid-October) on December 21, but already has sent out 38,000 DVD screeners to all guilds and the Academy in order to gain a foothold in the race against higher profile, better known competitors. Here is a look at the making of the film in a featurette that also includes an interview with the real-life wife and mother who fights against major odds just to see her kids and husband one more time.

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OSCARS: Behind The Scenes On ‘The Impossible’

By | Friday November 9, 2012 @ 11:35pm PST

Christy Grosz is editor of AwardsLine
When the production team behind Summit’s The Impossible met with 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami survivor Maria Belon at a quiet coffee shop in Barcelona in the spring of 2008, they weren’t certain that she would agree to have her family’s harrowing story told in a feature film. Producer Belen Atienza knew they were in for an emotional afternoon—she was the one who first heard Belon’s story on the radio, a drama so profound that it left Atienza in tears after it concluded. But Atienza, director Juan Antonio Bayona, screenwriter Sergio Sanchez—who have a shorthand from working together on Bayona’s Spanish-language horror hit The Orphanage—gained Belon’s trust in a simple way: They listened.
“We were all really nervous,” Atienza recalls about the initial meeting. “She talked for three and a half hours. It was exhausting for her and for us. We didn’t open our mouths—we were just listening—and she was extremely thorough.”
Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Maggie Smith, ‘Impossible’ Breaks Spanish Records, ‘Beauty’ To UK’s Watch, BBC Turmoil

By | Tuesday October 16, 2012 @ 12:48am PDT

Maggie Smith On Playing Older Women And Making Movies For “Grown-Ups”
Downton Abbey keeps commanding strong ratings during its third season run on the UK’s ITV with Sunday night’s intense episode pulling in an audience of about 9.46M and overtaking lead-in The X Factor. Meanwhile, the Dowager Countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith, looked far spryer in person Monday morning at a London press conference for Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet. Asked how she felt about the fact that she’s often cast in roles of much older women, she demurred, “I’m just glad to get any role, the fact that they’re all 90…” She said she suspects it started with 1991’s Hook in which she played Granny Wendy. “I think it was Peggy Ashcroft who couldn’t do it and I was suggested. They asked how old I was and somebody said 92.” She was in her mid-50s at the time. Also on the subject of age, Smith said she was happy to see more films about “grown-ups” as with her last feature The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. “It seems to me there’s a sort of change in what audiences want to see. I can only hope that’s correct because there are a lot of people my age around.” She cited Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy and said films for and about older people “always seem to be fairly successful. It’s a bit baffling as to why everybody has to be treated as if they were five years old.” Told there exists a sandwich named after her at a Venice, Italy restaurant, she asked, “Is it ham?”

Bayona’s ‘The Impossible’ Breaks Records In Spain
Juan Antonio Bayona has broken a series of records in his home country including the biggest opening weekend in Spanish history with tsunami drama The Impossible. The three-day weekend tally was 8.985M euros ($11.64M) and the four-day take was 10.285M euros ($13.32M), according to distributor Warner Bros. The film also had the biggest Friday in history and the tied for the biggest Thursday with The Simpsons Movie at 1.3M euros ($1.68M). The Impossible stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami Read More »

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Toronto: The Deals Are Slow, But This Festival Is A Rocking Good Time

By | Monday September 10, 2012 @ 7:14am PDT
Mike Fleming

Last night, as I was talking with director Juan Antonio Bayona and producer Ghislain Barrois at a Soho House afterparty, they asked me how the Toronto Film Festival crowd reacted at the end of their tsunami survival tale The Impossible. I had to be honest: Once a picture of the actual family that survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people was shown onscreen (the parents are played by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) and then the actual Belon family stood up to embrace Bayona, the crowd rushed to their feet for a standing ovation so fast and it lasted so long it was hard to tell if they were rooting for the harrowing film, the family that survived it, or both.

That’s what makes Toronto so great. There are so many surprises and this one reminded me of the way I felt when I attended the 127 Hours premiere, a movie that blew me away even though I didn’t really want to see it. And then hiker Aron Ralston took the stage with Danny Boyle and James Franco to explain how they pulled it off. Last night, Enrique Belon told me that he, his wife Maria and sons Lucas, Tomas and Simon actually enjoyed watching the film, though they admit it helped having watched production and an earlier screening to prepare themselves to relive a nightmare. And no, they don’t relive the nightmare in dreams each night, at least not anymore.

That is why, even though I come here to chronicle the dealmaking, I have never had a bad experience at Toronto — not even that year when the only film that sold here was Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Even though acquisition activity has been slow so far, Toronto has been nothing but fun. Festivals like Sundance and Cannes I mostly spend in a hotel room dogging deal stories. So far, I’ve been able to attend the premieres of three films to beat in the Oscar race: Ben Affleck’s Argo, David O Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook (Affleck and Russell should hold a master class on how to lighten the mood on serious subjects like hostage-taking and mental illness with the perfect mix of cracklingly good and funny dialogue that doesn’t undermine the sober subject matter), and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Impossible’

By | Tuesday August 21, 2012 @ 10:50am PDT

The Impossible tells the story of a family’s experience in the devastating 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami and the chaos that followed. The film, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Its North American premiere is set for September at the Toronto Film Festival. Here’s the trailer:

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Lionsgate Dates Tsunami Movie Dec. 21st

By | Wednesday July 18, 2012 @ 4:36pm PDT

Lionsgate has slated Summit Entertainment’s The Impossible, the Naomi Watts-Ewan McGregor movie about a family that survived the 2004 tsunami, to open December 21st in New York and Los Angeles. The Spanish-made movie was directed by J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage) from a script by Sergio G. Sánchez.

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Cannes Surprise Screening: Change Of Plans On Juan Antonio Bayona’s ‘The Impossible’

Only God Forgives CannesI’ve learned more about the special screening addition to the Cannes Film Festival that I wrote about a few days ago. Just today, the team behind Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible decided to pull out. The reason as I understand it is they were keen not to be lumped in with the program of footage and promo reels and preferred to do a stand-alone presentation further down the line. I’ve also heard the seven minutes of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained that The Weinstein Co screened for select invitees a few evenings ago will not be involved. However, footage from Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmasters was confirmed to me, along with scenes from Nicolas Winding Refn’s reteam with Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives.

Related: Cannes Planning Surprise Screening Of Non-Fest Films; What’s On The List?

There was no official widespread announcement from the festival regarding this special séance, and no official list of the films that will be included in the clip reel. However, there are signs dotting the Palais now saying the first-come, first-served screening is tonight at 10:30 PM in the Salle du Soixantième. I understand Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux put this together to allow accredited festgoers a chance to see footage many buyers may have already seen in the market. And I hear there will be scenes from a surprise film at the end of the reel.

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Cannes Planning Surprise Screening Of Non-Fest Films; What’s On The List?

EXCLUSIVE: In a move that would amount to the Cannes Film Festival‘s very own clip reel of unfinished upcoming movies, Deadline has heard that a screening of footage from select films will take place in an official venue on Thursday. Details are scarce, but pics that could be in the surprise pack include Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible, the tsunami movie starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and Wong Kar Wai’s martial arts bio The Grandmasters. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master might also be included, although the Weinsteins showed footage from those films last night. Other films are expected to be in the mix for what we hear will be an hourlong showing that will be open to all accredited fest attendees. This is a new move for the festival and could drum up some extra heat. The screening, Deadline understands, will take place at the Salle du Soixantième — the same venue where the roof was damaged by heavy winds the other day. Only this time, the festival will look to blow the roof off on purpose.

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‘Orphanage’ Helmer J.A. Bayona To CAA

Mike Fleming

Juan Antonio Bayona, who made his directing debut with the Spanish language pic The Orphanage, has signed with CAA. He’d been repped by WME. Bayona starts production today on his first English language film, The Impossible, a drama that stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. It’s based on a true story set in Thailand during the devastating 2004 tsunami. Sergio G. Sanchez wrote the script, which was set up as a co-production between Apaches Entertainment and Telecino Cinema, with Summit Entertainment distributing in the U.S. The depiction of a tsunami is a major plot point in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, and it was a visually stunning sequence. New Line, by the way, is developing a remake of Bayona’s The Orphanage.

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UTA Signs Filmmakers Sergio Sanchez And Juan Diego Solanas

By | Thursday June 24, 2010 @ 3:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UTA has signed Spanish screenwriter Sergio Sanchez and Argentinian writer/director Juan Diego Solanas. Sanchez, who had been repped by WME, wrote the sleeper hit The Orphanage and re-teamed with the film’s director, Juan Antonio Bayona, on The Impossible, the Summit/Telecino-backed tsunami film that stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Sanchez is writing a script that he plans to direct next year.

Solanas met several agencies after completing postproduction on Upside Down, the scifi fantasy financed by France’s Studio 37. Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst star in a Romeo and Juliet-like romance in which a young man falls desperately in love with a girl. The problem: They live in two separate worlds that exist, one on top of the other.  It is the first English language film for Solanas, who got on the map when his short film, The Man Without a Head, won a Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.

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