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BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Is Lord Of Business, Costner’s ’3 Days To Kill’ No. 2 Buries ‘Pompeii’; ‘The Wind Rises’ To Expand

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 1:34pm PST

OPENING: 3 Days to Kill (REL) opens in second for an est. $12.2M 3-day; Pompeii (SONY) takes No. 3 with $10.3M. The Wind Rises (DIS) very strong in limited release. NOTEWORTHY: Oscar-nominated films still in theaters held well.

UPDATED: MONDAY, 1:34 PM: Final numbers are in. Everything looks as expected with one, two, three is The Lego Movie, 3 Days to Kill and Pompeii. In their second weekend out, About Last Night and RoboCop got nudges upwards and Endless Love faltered from previous estimates but Winters Tale was done before it began. wind risesThe Wind Rises ended up with a very strong $14,941 per screen this weekend in limited release for Disney. The animated picture from writer/director Hayao Miyazaki was only on 21 screens as the studio is releasing slowly and is expected on 500 screens this weekend.

Other openers on Oscar weekend will be 20th Century Fox’s Son of God, reality TV king’s Mark Burnett’s theatrical version (clipped together with footage from The Bible series on the History Channel and new footage). Burnett is smartly and heavily promoting through Christian groups. In fact, he is working with a company called Compassion International which is buying up tickets and giving away parishoners to churches in 40 U.S. cities. Will be interesting to see how this film is received in light of two other Bible-themed films coming out this year including the Russell Crowe-starring Noah Read More »

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OSCARS: Time For A Toon To Take Best Picture

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:27pm PST

What is it going to take for an animated pic to shatter the Best Picture live action ceiling?

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created an animated feature category back inAwardsLine 2001, it was an official nod to the fact that the genre has evolved into a true art form. Before the category’s existence, it was a rare feat for a toon to earn a best picture nomination, which happened just once, in 1992, with Beauty And The Beast. The fact that Up and Toy Story 3 recently managed to get best picture and best animated feature noms after the animated category was created and the top category was enlarged shows just how much Academy voters love and respect these films. Yet despite this progress, no animated film has turned a best pic nom into a win.

Beauty-and-the-Beast-beauty-and-the-beast-309492_1024_768But times are changing, and it is now conceivable that an animated film could take home a best picture statuette in the next decade. The universal appeal of toons—proven by the enviable worldwide box office a majority of them earn—coupled with an emerging generation that blurs the assumed boundaries between live action and line drawings, bodes well for this prospect.

Related: The Croods’ Creative Team Tells How They Pulled Off A Big Win For Dreamworks Animation (Video)
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Deadline Awards Watch 64: The Time For Oscars Podcast

By and | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 8:24pm PST

Deadline Awards Watch podcast 64In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom look at the impact of those all-over-the-map BAFTA Awards, which gave Gravity lots of love but handed 12 Years A Slave two important wins.

They also look at what questions are being asked by Fox Searchlight’s Oscar campaign for 12 Years, which declares that “it’s time,” and whether it may also be time for Oscar to hand a statue to Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street or to score composer Alexandre Desplat for Philomena.
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OSCARS: Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ Clip

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 2:32pm PST
Pete Hammond

Oscar-winning Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, who won the Best Animated Feature Academy Award in 2002 for Spirited Away, is back in contention this year with The Wind Rises, the film he says will be his last as a director. Could that be a factor in how the Academy votes? The film — about the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II — is nominated for its original Japanese version, but Disney on Friday will be releasing the English-language version featuring a starry voice cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Martin Short, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin and others. Here’s an exclusive clip that doesn’t depend on dialogue at all, a harrowing earthquake sequence that shows off Miyazaki’s true gifts as an artist. If this is his last hurrah as a director, you can see why he will be missed:

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Annie Awards: ‘Frozen’ Wins Big Including Best Feature; Miyazaki Gets Best Writing; Spielberg Honored; ‘Futurama’ & ‘Sofia’ Top TV; ‘Get A Horse!’ Best Short

Annie Award WinnersDisney’s Frozen was on fire tonight at the 41st Annie Awards and now is generating real heat for the upcoming Academy Awards. Having made $864.4M worldwide at the box office since its late-November release, the 3D fantasy musical snagged 5 Annies tonight. Frozen won Best Animated Feature, Best Directing for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Best Music, Production Design and a Voice Acting win for Josh Gad. who also was a presenter. Whether this will translate into Oscar gold remains to be seen. Last year’s big Annie winner, Wreck-It Ralph, which Lee co-wrote, ended up losing the Best Animated Feature Oscar to Pixar’s Brave. However, the 2012 Annie Feature winner Rango did win at the Oscars that year.

“We haven’t even started talking about a sequel yet,” Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee told me before the ceremony started. “We’ve talked about the Broadway musical but not a sequel. No one’s even mentioned it,” said Lee, who just flew in today from a promotional visit to Tokyo.

frozen2With 30 awards handed out and hosted by Patrick Warburton, this year’s Annies from UCLA’s Royce Hall also saw animation trailblazer Hayao Miyazaki take home the Writing in an Animated Feature award for The Wind Rises and Disney’s Mickey Mouse throwback pic Get A Horse! — which played before screenings of Frozen — take the Best Animated Short prize. Steven Spielberg, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and Star Wars and Jurassic Park effects whiz Phil Tippett were honored with the Annies’ prestigious Winsor McCay for their contribution to the art form. DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods garnered three awards, for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production, Character Design and Character Animation. The Chris Meledandri-headed Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 took the Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial award.

A recap of Deadline’s live blog of tonight’s show follows the winners list below.

Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Stays Hot With Sing-Along Version Headed To Theaters
‘Despicable Me 2′ Breaks Records In $80M Home Vid Debut
OSCARS: Best Animation 2013 – Titans Vs. Indies In A Wide Open Race

Toy-Story-of-TerrorThe Halloween special Toy Story of Terror! and Disney Mickey Mouse each won three awards. Best General Audience Animated TV Production and best Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production went to Futurama, while Disney’s Sofia The First picked up the category’s Preschool Children award. Industrial Light & Magic’s Pacific Rim team won the Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for their work on Warner Bros and Legendary’s apocalyptic blockbuster.

After a slightly late start, host Warburton kicked off the show by making a joke that he has “no experience as a host” but that the Annies are his favorite awards show. He later said of Royce Hall, “What a terrific venue to have the Annies — or, if you’re Seth MacFarlane, a birthday party.” He added that maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned it because “not everybody here was invited.” Later he said, “We lost Brian the dog on Family Guy this year. That was tragic news for fans of the show. … Tragic news for me would be if I found out Rogaine caused brain cancer.” He added that, “So Seth MacFarlane killed a dog. To me that makes him no better than Michael Vick.” The joke got a big laugh.

Congrats to all who took home an Annie tonight, check out the full list of winners below:

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Boston Film Critics Spring For ‘12 Years A Slave’ As Dissenter Lobbies Against WWII-Set Miyazaki Toon ‘The Wind Rises’

By | Sunday December 8, 2013 @ 3:22pm PST

Boston critics logoThe Boston Society of Film Critics went big for Steve McQueen‘s slavery drama 12 Years A Slave today, awarding the Fox Searchlight Oscar contender three end-of-year awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Best Director. Meanwhile, Best Animated Film honors went to Hayao Miyazaki‘s acclaimed WWII-era love story The Wind Rises – but not without vocal opposition from Village Voice critic Inkoo Kang. “Miyazaki’s film is wholly symptomatic of Japan’s postwar attitude toward its history, which is an acknowledgement of the terribleness of war and a willful refusal to acknowledge its country’s role in that terribleness,” read a portion of a statement Kang recited aloud during the vote. “To me, the fact that the film glosses over the true purpose of those planes — The Wind Rises Protestand never mentions the fact that those planes were built by Chinese and Korean slave labor — is morally egregious.” The film has earned vocal criticism within Japan for romanticizing the nation’s war industry during WWII. Kang explained to Deadline why she took a public stand against the pic, which is also eyeing the Oscars: “I decided to give the speech at the Boston Society of Film Critics meeting because I felt that too few American critics lent sufficient consideration to the glaring moral blind spots in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises. The film shouldn’t just be viewed as a harmless portrait of an idealist, but in the context of a postwar mainstream Japanese culture that refuses to examine — and in some egregious cases, admit to — its war crimes.” Check out the 2013 Boston film critics winners below. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’

By | Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:22am PST

EXCLUSIVE: We’ve seen the subtitled trailer for Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) released during the Toronto Film Festival and now here’s a first look at the domestic version. A mix of the real-life stories of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi and the poet Tatsuo Hori, The Wind Rises tells a poignant tale of war, perseverance and love. The film that the anime master said will be his last topped the Japanese box office for nine consecutive weeks after opening there in July. It wrapped up a week-long Oscar-qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles on November 14 and will open in limited release in the U.S. on February 21, expanding wide a week later under Disney’s Touchstone Pictures banner.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ To Close Camerimage; Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominees Announced; More

‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ To Close Camerimage Fest
Camerimage, the international film festival of the art of cinematography, said today that Ben Stiller’s new comedy-drama The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty will close the 21st edition of the festival, which runs November 16-23 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Stiller also stars in the film alongside Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn and Adam Scott. Also, director Terry Gilliam and cinematographer Nicola Pecorini will present their sci-fi drama The Zero Theorem as the second opening film (following Saving Mr. Banks), which will be part of the festival’s Opening Gala at the Opera Nova. Gilliam received the fest’s Camerimage Special Award to the Director with Unique Visual Sensitivity in 2009, when he and Pecorini presented their film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Nominations For 7th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Announced
Nominations for the seventh annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards were unveiled today. Six movies will vie for Best Feature Film: Omar (Palestine), The Past (France, Italy), Like Father, Like Son (Japan), The Turning (Australia), With You, Without You (Sri Lanka) and Television, the first film from Bangladesh ever to earn an Asia Pacific nom. The mentions for When I Saw You (Jordan) and Wadjda (Saudi Arabia) also are the first for their respective countries. Five films earned two mentions apiece: Television, Like Father, Like Son, The Old Man, The Past and My Sweet Pepperland (Iraq-Kurdistan-France-Germany). In all, 39 films from 21 Asia Pacific nations are up for the awards, which will be handed out December 12 at City Hall in Brisbane, Australia. The full is of nominees is here. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Ataru’ Dethrones ‘The Wind Rises’ In Japan; Peter Jackson Given Highest Kiwi Honor; More

After a nine-week streak, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises has slipped from the No. 1 spot at the Japanese box office. Ataru: The First Love & The Last Kill, an adaptation of a popular TV series, overtook the animation master’s final feature at the weekend, making over $3.5M. FilmBizAsia reports that it is only the second live-action TV adaptation to open at No. 1 this year. The Wind Rises fell to the No. 2 spot and now has a cume of $106.5M. Meanwhile, The Wolverine opened at No. 3 with $1.85M and Warner Japan’s remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven was No. 4 with $1.45M.

Peter Jackson was given New Zealand’s highest honor on Tuesday, becoming an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to the country. He also received the order’s insignia, the first time a film industry player has been given the badge. According to Stuff, only 20 members of the order can hold the badge and it must be returned by the recipient’s estate upon their death. “Obviously, it’s something I’m going to have to look after and I’m going to have to make sure my children know where to find it, but I do hope to hold on to it for quite a long time,” Jackson said. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Wind Rises’ No. 1 Again In Japan; Syfy Bringing ‘The Originals’ To UK; More

‘The Wind Rises’ Makes It Eight Straight Weeks At No. 1 In Japan
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is still No. 1 at the Japanese box office after eight consecutive weekends. The Studio Ghibli release was up 13.6% this weekend after the director made his retirement official at a press conference in Tokyo last week. Per FilmBizAsia, the movie has taken in $97.2M to date. The website says that the last domestic movie to stay atop the box office for more than seven weeks in a row was Bayside Shakedown 2 in 2003. Miyazaki’s Oscar winner Spirited Away was tops for 16 consecutive weeks in 2001. Disney said Wednesday that it will open the film February 21 in North America after an Oscar-qualifying run in November. Read More »

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‘The Wind Rises’ Set For North American Release In February

By | Wednesday September 11, 2013 @ 6:36pm PDT

Hayao Miyazaki‘s The Wind Rises is set for limited release in North American theaters on February 21 and will expand a week later, Disney and Studio Ghibli announced tonight. Under the Touchstone Pictures banner, the film also will play Oscar-qualifying engagements in New York and Los Angeles on November 8-14. The Wind Rises — which has been the No. 1 film in Japan for the past eight weeks — made its international debut at the Venice Film Festival this month, where it was revealed that this would be Oscar winner Miyazaki’s last film. The animated pic features a mix of the real-life stories of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi and poet Tatsuo Hori. It had its North American premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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Hayao Miyazaki Confirms Retirement From Features, But Will Maintain Ghibli Presence

Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki has held a press conference in Tokyo to speak about his recently announced retirement. Last Sunday in Venice, Koju Hoshino, president of Miyazaki’s production company Studio Ghibli, said that the anime master’s competition film, The Wind Rises, would be his last. Today, Miyazaki said he would “like to work for at least 10 more years, but I think that making feature films is no longer my job.” Miyazaki acknowledged he has said he would stop making features before, but today he reiterated that he was serious this time, according to local media reports. “I’m going to be free. At the same time, as long as I can drive my car to the studio, I’ll go. If there are things I want to do, then I will,” he said without elaborating. Speaking of The Wind Rises, Miyazaki said the film took five years to make. A new film “would take six or seven years. I’m going to be 73 years old and I would be 80 by the end.” The director is considering getting more involved in his venerable studio’s Ghibli Museum, joking he might become an exhibit. Producer Toshio Suzuki also noted that the studio’s next film, after Isao Takahata’s November release The Tale Of Princess Kaguya, will be out in Japan next summer, although he did not reveal details.

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Venice: Golden Lion Contenders At The Half + A Refresher On New Awards Rules

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 7:16am PDT

At the midpoint of Venice last year, The Master had emerged as a clear favorite and indeed went on to scoop the directing trophy and a double best actor Volpi Cup. But, due to rules designed not to favor one film too heavily, the jury was unable to give it the Golden Lion in what became something of a scandal on the Lido. In a move that could help deter such furture controversies, the festival added a Grand Jury Prize this year. Still, the regs say that no film can win more than one award — save for exceptional cases whereby a film that’s won the directing Silver Lion, the Grand Jury Prize, the Special Jury Prize or the screenplay prize can also nab an acting nod. For that to happen, it has to be done in consultation with the festival president. But, if a movie takes the Golden Lion, that’s the only prize it can win.

This year, the press and the public have embraced Philomena. That film bowed on Saturday to rapturous applause and standing ovations. The Stephen Frears-directed pic has been praised for its deft handling of a sensitive subject. The movie, based on a true story, is about a woman searching for the son she was forced to give up for adoption while slaving away in an Irish abbey for so-called fallen women. The abbey in the film certainly brings to mind the Magdalene laundries where some 30,000 women were incarcerated between 1765-1996. The asylums were the subject of Peter Mullan’s 2002 The Magdalene Sisters, which went on to win the Golden Lion here. And yet, if Philomena were to follow that path, its heavily praised star, Judi Dench, would be ineligible for the best actress Volpi Cup. There are still eight films to screen so nothing is a certainty, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on the prizes on Saturday to see how the jury juggles a strong field of films. The Weinstein Co. is giving Philomena a December 25 limited release before opening wide on January 10. Read More »

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Venice: Hayao Miyazaki To Retire After Competition Pic ‘The Wind Rises’

Oscar-winning Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki once said he thought he’d stop making features after 1997′s Princess Mononoke. Instead, he went on to such films as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo. Today in Venice, Koju Hoshino, president of Miyazaki’s production company Studio Ghibli, announced that the director’s competition title, The Wind Rises, will be his last film. Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval, who confirms the news, says, “For me, he is simply the greatest animator that ever was.” Wild Bunch is a longtime collaborator of Miyazaki’s and is handling world sales on The Wind Rises. Maraval calls Miyazaki’s retirement “the end of an era.” Knowing there will be no more “Ponyo or Catbus or monsters or witches or resourceful little girls, is very strange,” Maraval adds. “At the same time, he is ending on a masterpiece that leaves us with his great humanism and a vision of our century to contemplate.” Hoshino did not take questions at a Venice press conference, saying there will be a special one held in Tokyo next week. “He wants to say goodbye to all of you.” Miyazaki’s 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In 2001, he won the Oscar in that category with Spirited Away. Disney is releasing The Wind Rises under the Touchstone … Read More »

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Disney To Release Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ In U.S.

By | Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 3:33pm PDT

Up until now Japan animation master Hayao Miyazaki‘s latest film didn’t have a U.S. home — though it has already secured a world premiere slot at the Venice Film Festival and a North American premiere in Toronto after that. Disney said today it will handle North American theatrical distribution of the Studio Ghibli title, to be released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. No U.S. release date was announced. The deal continues the studio’s release relationship with Miyazaki’s company that includes The Secret World Of Arrietty, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Toho released Wind Rises in July in Japan, where the film featuring a mix of the real-life stories of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi and poet Tatsuo Hori was a hit.

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