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George Clooney & ‘Monuments Men’ Headed For White House

By | Monday February 17, 2014 @ 4:00pm PST

monuments-men__131108120434-575x431President Obama on Tuesday will host cast and crew members of Sony’s The Monuments Men for a screening at the White House. George Clooney, who co-wrote, directed and stars in the pic, will be attending the closed-press evening event, we’re told. The pic, based on the true story of an unlikely World War II unit that was tasked with saving priceless art from the Nazis, opened February 7 and has grossed $46M+ to date. It’s a rare case of the White House screening a movie that’s already in theaters. This is not Clooney’s first go-round with the president: He hosted a May 2012 Obama re-election fundraiser at his Studio City home that raised a then-record $15 million. “We raised a lot of money because everybody loves George,” Obama said during that $40,000-a-ticket event. “They like me, they love him.”

Related: Berlin: George Clooney & ‘Monuments Men’ Artfully Cut Up For Press

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Blockbuster $69M; ‘Monuments Men’ Solid Second; ‘Vampire Academy’ Has No Bite

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 1:08pm PST

OPENING: The Lego Movie (WB), blockbuster expected anywhere from $69M; The Monuments Men (Sony), around $22M in 2nd position; Vampire Academy (TWC) anemic with $3.9M.

BoxOffice_logo4TH UPDATE, 1 P.M: The Lego Movie ended its weekend run with $69M. Sony is reporting The Monuments Men at $22M (slightly less than yesterday) and the other newcomer distributed by The Weinstein Company, Vampire Academy, ended the 3-day holiday weekend with a mere $3.9M. Next weekend openers are a slew of 1980s back-to- the-future movies with re-worked titles MGM’s Robocop, which opens Wednesday; Sony’s About Last Night, starring Ride Along‘s Kevin Hart; and Universal’s remake of Endless Love. Here are the final numbers as reported from the studios for Top 20 titles from this weekend:

1). The Lego Movie (WB) 3,775 theaters / Est. 3-day Cume: $69M / Per screen: $18,291 / Wk 1

2). The Monuments Men (SONY), 3,083 theaters / 3-day Cume: $22M / Per screen: $7,137 / Wk 1

3). Ride Along (UNI), 2,800 theaters (-67) / 3-day Cume: $9.5M (-20%) / Per screen: $3,425 / Total Cume: $105.3M / Wk 4

4). Frozen (DIS), 2,460 theaters (-294) / 3-day Cume: $6.8M (-23%) / Per screen: $2,794 / Total Cume: $368.6M / Wk 12

5). Lone Survivor (UNI), 2,869 theaters (-416) / 3-day Cume: $5.5M (-22%) / Per screen: $1,940 / Total Cume: $112.8M / Wk 7

6).  That Awkward Moment (FOCUS), 2,809 theaters (0) / $3-day Cume: $5.2M (-40%) / Per screen: $1,864 / Total Cume: $16.5M / Wk 2

7). Vampire Academy (TWC), 2,676 theaters / 3-day Cume: $3.9M / Per screen: $1,466 / Wk 1

8). The Nut Job (OPRD), 3,004 theaters (-468) / 3-day Cume: $3.7M (-48%) / Per screen: $1,249 / Total Cume: $55M / Wk 4

9). Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PAR), 2,139 theaters (-768) / 3-day Cume: $3.5M (-34%) / Per screen: $1,651 / Total Cume: $44.4M / Wk 4

10). Labor Day (PAR), 2,584 theaters (0)/ 3-day Cume: $3.1M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,233 / Total Cume:  $10.1M /Wk 2 Read More »

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Berlin: George Clooney & ‘Monuments Men’ Artfully Cut-Up For Press; WWII Dramedy Is An Escape From “Cynical Movies”

BerlinFilmFestival_badge__140204155938George Clooney and his merry band of Monuments Men arrived in Berlin this weekend. The film is playing in the Competition section tonight, although it is not actually vying for prizes (despite some tough reviews, it just opened Stateside with an expected haul of $20.6M). As with Berlin opening movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, Monuments Men was shot in Germany, taking advantage of local tax breaks, and that has not been lost on the festival. The U.S. ambassador today held a reception honoring both films with two rooms in the vast embassy decked out to look like sets from each (an idea he said came from his bunny hop“ambassadorable” wife who used to be in the entertainment biz). Festival chief Dieter Kosslick, MPAA head Chris Dodd and former AMPAS president Hawk Koch all attended. At the Monuments Men press conference later in the afternoon, Clooney, Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Dimitri Leonidas, Justus von Dohnányi and writer/producer Grant Heslov serenaded photographers with Working In The Coal Mine… and formed a conga line.

monuments menWhen the group settled, most of the talk centered on why Clooney had chosen to make the film. He and Heslov had been “doing rather cynical movies for quite some time” and the film’s source novel – The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves And The Greatest Treasure Hunt In History – “reminded me of movies I grew up loving like Guns Of Navarone and Kelly’s Heroes,” Clooney said. Recent headlines about recovered artworks were simply a coincidence, but Clooney joked, “We had a three-year conversation with the guys here at Fox to get the news to hold the story. It was very expensive so we’d like to thank Jim Gianopulos.” Read More »

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BOX OFFICE PREVIEW: Little Legos Expected To Make Monster Opening

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 11:08am PST

The Lego MovieWarner Bros.’ will be planting its flag in its tentpole this weekend with The Lego Movie which will dominate the three-day box office. Done in association with Village Roadshow, Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment, the picture is crossing demos from family to older teens with the hopes of pulling in an even older audience. College anyone? It doesn’t hurt that the voices are well-known names: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Chris Pratt leads. It’s the first full-length movie based on the LEGO brand, which by the way, has done a phenomenal job re-inventing itself and keeping relevant with an entirely new generation of consumers.The Monuments Men The 3D animated, PG rated film could take in a whopping $38M to $42Mthe studio thinks, but others think it could go much higher … much, much higher … unless the inclement weather across the nation dampens movie going this weekend. It bows in 3,775 theaters and there is no holdover stopping it so the weekend it is a wide open weekend for Warner Bros. In addition, Fandango let it be known today that The Lego Movie is turning out to be the second biggest advance ticket-seller among all animated films, behind only Toy Story 3. The company says that as of this morning, sales are surpassing advance ticket sales for … Read More »

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George Clooney’s ‘The Monuments Men’ Gets Berth At Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival has added George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men to its official program. This is the second film announced by the fest which kicks off on February 6th. Both Monuments Men and the recently-set Berlin opener The Grand Budapest Hotel were shot in Germany. This will be the international premiere of Monuments Men, which is based on a true story and focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by the Allies with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. The subject is especially timely given that just this week, about 1,500 works of art were discovered in a Munich apartment, allegedly including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch and Emil Nolde. “Over five million cultural assets stolen by the Nazis were returned to their countries of origin in the years following World War II. As the recent discovery in Munich demonstrates, the art theft of that time is as current as ever. The Monuments Men finally gives this little-known subject a worldwide audience,” said festival director Dieter Kosslick. This is Clooney’s second directorial appearance in the official program after 2003′s Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Clooney also co-wrote, produced and stars in Monuments Men with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John … Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 47

By | Friday October 25, 2013 @ 11:48am PDT
Pete Hammond

Listen to (and share) episode 47 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the fantastic spoonful of sugar and spice that is Saving Mr. Banks, which debuted strongly at the London Film Festival. They also assess the impact of the Oscar race departures by The Monuments Men and the possible re-insertion into the race by Wolf Of Wall Street; ponder the value of the heavily attended Hollywood Film Awards and look at whether James Schamus’ surprise departure from Focus Features will sell short Dallas Buyers Club.

Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases, including Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, which features a glittering cast and a problematic Cormac McCarthy script; the latest hijinks from the Jackass crew, Bad Grandpa; and Cannes conqueror Blue Is The Warmest Color.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 47 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 47 (M4a format) Read More »

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George Clooney’s ‘Monuments Men’ Delayed To 2014

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 6:21pm PDT

George Clooney‘s World War II tale The Monuments Men has been pushed to an unspecified date in early 2014. We’ve learned that the pic was delayed because visual effects could not be completed in time for the Sony film’s scheduled December 18 release date. Composer Alexandre Desplat also has not yet recorded the score. The thriller about a platoon of art historians and museum directors tasked with rescuing priceless art from the Nazis did well in screenings late last week in Phoenix and the week before in Sherman Oaks, CA. The film now won’t be eligible for the Academy Awards, but it was never Clooney’s goal to push it for Oscar attention. Rather, he intended to make an ensemble film in the style of 1961′s The Guns Of Navarone. Clooney also is burning the candle at both ends. He’s busy shooting Disney’s Tomorrowland as well as trying to wrap up Monuments Men.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Monuments Men’

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Monuments Men’

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 4:26pm PDT

Sony Pictures is readying for the December 18 release of The Monuments Men — the Oscar-season sweet spot — with the latest trailer to drop. George Clooney directs and heads the cast of the thriller about a World War II platoon of art historians and museum directors tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue priceless art from the Nazis. Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett also star. Check it out:

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor At EFA Awards; Senator Backs Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity; More

Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor From European Film Academy
Pedro Almodóvar will receive the European Achievement in World Cinema award at the 26th European Film Awards in December. The European Film Academy is feting the filmmaker for his body of work, including Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – his 1988 breakout film – All About My Mother, Talk To Her and this year’s I’m So Excited. “I am very thankful for this award,” Almodóvar said in a statement. “From its creation, the European Film Academy has been very generous with me and my closest collaborators. I share with them the joy of this award.” He will receive the award December 7 at the the EFA Awards in Berlin.

Senator Film To Finance Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity’
Germany’s Senator Film is backing the latest feature adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. Danish helmer Bille August will direct. August is reteaming with his Night Train To Lisbon and Goodbye Bafana screenwriter Greg Latter, who is penning the transfer. This will be the second feature based on prolific Austrian author Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. The first was in 1946, starring German actress Lilli Palmer. Published in 1938, the book tells the story of a young lieutenant who takes pity on a paralyzed girl. He cares for her and she falls in love, but he doesn’t share her strong feelings. When she learns the truth, she makes a fateful decision. There is no cast yet, but international talent is expected to join the English-language project. Shooting starts in 2014 in Bavaria, Austria and Hungary. The film will open in Germany in 2015 through Senator. Lars Sylvest and Helge Sasse are producers. French director Patrice Leconte recently adapted Zweig’s A Promise as his first English-language film. That project drew Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman and Richard Madden. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Monuments Men’

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 10:21am PDT

George Clooney directs and heads a killer cast in period dramatic thriller The Monuments Men. Based on the true story of one of the greatest treasure hunts in history, The Monuments Men focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. Not easy with the art trapped behind enemy lines and the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell. But the Monuments Men — seven museum directors, curators and art historians — risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements. Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett also star. Clooney and Grant Heslov penned the screenplay based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. Sony releases the pic on December 18. Check out the trailer:

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George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 9:16am PDT
Mike Fleming

George Clooney Sony Daniel LoebEXCLUSIVE: George Clooney, who yesterday sent his Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov to Hollywood to show Sony and Fox a first cut of their Oscar-season period film The Monuments Men, has spent most of his career navigating the challenge of making provocative movies at studios obsessed with tentpoles. While he’s won Oscars — the latest the Best Picture prize he shared with Heslov and producer-director Ben Affleck for Argo — Clooney is also the guy who kept a photo of himself as Batman prominently displayed on his office wall, as a cautionary reminder of what can happen when you make movies solely for commercial reasons.

Working on post-production for his latest directing effort in Italy to ready for Sony’s December 18 release, Clooney spoke to me about his new movie and how it’s getting harder to make films like Monuments, Argo and the Smokehouse-produced August: Osage County. The discussion turned toward recent critical comments made by Third Point LLC hedge fund head Daniel Loeb and the pressure he is placing on Sony Pictures chiefs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, centered around the under-performing back to back summer films After Earth and White House Down. Loeb, whose fund controls 7% of Sony stock, is pressing for Sony to spin off its entertainment assets and likened those misfires to historic flops Waterworld and Ishtar. Though Clooney and Heslov base their Smokehouse Pictures banner at Sony, and Loeb’s influence is growing there, Clooney has never been shy about standing up to what he feels is wrong. So, buckle up.

Said Clooney: “I’ve been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed? When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn’t he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained? And what about the rest of a year that includes Elysium, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and The Monuments Men? You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great. It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets. How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”

Why is he dangerous? Read More »

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CinemaCon: Can Star-Driven 2013 Slate Power Sony To Top Their Best Year Ever?

Pete Hammond

Sony Pictures played it lean and mean with a tightly produced program for exhibitors at CinemaCon on Wednesday evening that put the emphasis squarely where the theatre owners wanted it — on the product. And the studio delivered as promised with an intriguing 51-minute reel showcasing their 2013 movie slate — and in no particular order. Where other studios this week have put the emphasis on summer, Sony presented a year-round picture with a wide diversity of product and more than one potential Oscar contender.

Among the previously unseen footage in the reel were brief snippets from year-end awards contenders The Monuments Men directed by and starring George Clooney and an all-star cast, along with David O. Russell’s newly named American Hustle with virtually the entire cast of last season’s Russell Oscar darling Silver Linings Playbook. Also, Tom Hanks is starring as Captain Phillips (October) from director Paul Greengrass, a true story about a ship hijacked by Somalian pirates. If this weren’t enough to whet Oscar-watcher appetites there was generous footage from 2010 Best Picture Oscar nominee Neil Blomkamp’s (District 9) latest, Elysium, which those who have seen a rough cut tell me could be another contender for the director. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star. There’s also a Russian production of a World War II epic, Stalingrad, from director Fedor Bonarchuk which the studio is partnering on for fall release that has “prestige product” written all over it. Read More »

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Berlin: Matt Damon On ‘Promised Land’s Performance & ‘Argo’s Oscar Chances

Matt Damon was in town today in support of Promised Land, which has its international premiere here in competition. He was flanked by director Gus Van Sant and co-star and co-writer John Krasinski at a press conference where he spoke candidly about the film, noting his disappointment that it didn’t perform better in the U.S. When asked about the petroleum industry’s pre-emptively negative reaction to the film that deals with the controversial issue of fracking, Damon said, “People were expecting a certain kind of movie to attack and then waited to see how well it did. When the movie didn’t perform particularly well, they kind of just let it go.” Then he laughed and added, “The biggest attack we got was from critics.” The movie debuted in late December and took about $8M domestically. Damon said he hopes the film will still hit a mark with audiences (it rolls out overseas from next week). “It didn’t get the reception I would have hoped for, but it exists and it will exist… I’ve had movies bomb worse than this one and then make their money back later.” Even though he’s had “a lot of movies not well received by critics or audiences” he added, “this one, I really love it. It’s in my heart and I don’t understand what I’m hearing back.”

The actor is looking forward to returning to Berlin next month to start work on the George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men – (“Everyone else is so excited because George Clooney will be with me”) – but he said he wished the city had “the international airport it deserves.” A bugaboo for visitors from the U.S. is that the airport here doesn’t have direct connections to many non-European cities and Damon had to transfer through Frankfurt to arrive on Thursday. “As someone who loves coming here and loves working here, I would love to fly direct.” Read More »

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Matt Damon In Talks To Join Monumental Cast Of George Clooney’s Next Film

By | Tuesday December 4, 2012 @ 1:30pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is negotiating to join The Monuments Men, the period drama that George Clooney will direct in January in Europe as a co-production between Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Damon joins what continues to be shaping up as an amazing cast. Besides Damon and Clooney, the film will star Skyfall‘s Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, Argo‘s John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. Clooney and Damon did the Ocean’s Eleven movies together and Syriana.

The drama, which was scripted by Clooney and partner Grant Heslov, confronts the final chapter of Germany’s rule, which came down to the absolute destruction of everything that makes a culture keep its standing, including the lives that are lost and the sacrifices that are made. All of this is in danger of being lost forever as Hitler and the Nazis try to cover the tracks of a murderous regime. A crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art that were stolen by Nazis before they are destroyed. Read More »

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George Clooney Sets Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin For WWII Drama ‘Monuments Men’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: What a killer cast George Clooney has put together for The Monuments Men, the period drama he will direct in a co-production between Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Clooney will star with Skyfall‘s Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, Argo‘s John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban.

The drama, which was scripted by Clooney and partner Grant Heslov, confronts the final chapter of Germany’s rule, which came down to the absolute destruction of everything that makes a culture keep its standing, including the lives that are lost and the sacrifices that are made. All of this is in danger of being lost forever as Hitler and the Nazis try to cover the tracks of a murderous regime. A crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art that were stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. Read More »

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