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50 Years Later: Dustin Hoffman Recalls Mike Nichols’ Vision for ‘The Graduate’

8 October 2017 2:04 PM, PDT

Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate,” an adaptation of Charles Webb’s “novel of today’s youth unlike any you have read” (so boasted first-edition copies) hit theaters on Dec. 22, 1967. It received seven Oscar nominations and became an instant classic, helping to launch a new wave of American cinema that would be the story of the next decade. Nichols, meanwhile — hot off a theater career and a film debut in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” that set the industry ablaze — walked away with the Academy’s best director prize.

The film also launched the screen career of actor Dustin Hoffman, who can’t quite believe it’s been 50 years since this landmark entered the canon.

“It is stunning, because I’m only 47,” the 80-year-old legend quipped on a recent episode of Variety‘s “Playback” podcast while promoting his new film “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).”

Hoffman recalled that few expected much of the film. “If »


- Kristopher Tapley

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China’s ‘Never Say Die’ Tops ‘Blade Runner’ at International Box Office

8 October 2017 12:33 PM, PDT

Chinese sports comedy “Never Say Die” has topped the weekend’s international box office with $66 million in only four markets.

Mahua Funage’s film, adapted from a 2014 stage play of the same name, has totaled $221 million in worldwide grosses in less than two weeks, according to comScore. During its Saturday-Sunday opening last weekend, “Never Say Die” took in $46 million in its first two days in China.

Sony’s release of “Blade Runner 2049” finished second during the weekend with $50.2 million in 63 markets on 15,900 screens, representing 61% of its international footprint for Sony.

The noir sci-fi sequel took first place in 45 markets, led by $8 million in the U.K., similar to “Interstellar” and 15% ahead of “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Russia followed with $4.9 million, topping “Gravity” by 16% and “Mad Max: Fury Road” by 1%.

Fox’s spy spoof sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” came in a distant third place with $25.5 million in 69 markets, led by $8.2 million in South Korea, where »


- Dave McNary

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ Opens With $50.2 Million in International Box Office

8 October 2017 10:44 AM, PDT

Blade Runner 2049” has launched with a solid $50.2 million in 63 markets on 15,900 screens, representing 61% of its international footprint for Sony.

The noir sci-fi sequel took first place in 45 markets, led by $8 million in the U.K., similar to “Interstellar” and 15% ahead of “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Russia followed with $4.9 million, topping “Gravity” by 16% and “Mad Max: Fury Road” by 1%.

Sony noted that “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, is positioned for a strong run throughout the fall season and pointed to positive upticks on Saturday, stellar reviews, and “excellent” audience reception.

Australia launched with $3.6 million, beating out “Interstellar” by 9% and “Gravity” by 28%. France also took in $3.6 million, followed by Germany with $3.3 million, Spain with $2.6 million, Italy with $2.5 million, Brazil with $1.8 million and Mexico with $1.6 million.

Upcoming key market releases are South Korea on Oct. 12, Japan on Oct. 27, and China on Nov. 10.

Blade Runner 2049” is heading for a downbeat $31.5 million opening weekend at 4,058 sites »


- Dave McNary

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‘Blade Runner’: The Sci-Fi Movie That Became a Geek Metaphor for Art

8 October 2017 10:27 AM, PDT

Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s visionary 1982 dystopian noir, is a movie with a mystique that now outstrips its reality. It’s a film of majestic science-fiction metaphor, beginning with its opening shot: the perpetual nightscape of Los Angeles in 2019, the smog turned to black, the fallout turned to rain, the smokestacks blasting fireballs that look downright medieval against a backdrop of obsidian blight. “Blade Runner” wasn’t the first — or last — image of a desiccated future, but it remains one of the only movies that lets you feel the mechanical-spiritual decay. There’s a touch of virtual reality to the way we experience it, sinking into those blackened textures, reveling in the details (the corporate Mayan skyscrapers, the synthetic sushi bars, the Times Square meets Third World technolopolis clutter), seeing an echo of our own world in every sinister facet.

The other metaphor that drives “Blade Runner” is, of course, the spectral notion of replicants, »


- Owen Gleiberman

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New ‘Justice League’ Trailer Shows Earth Under Attack

8 October 2017 8:57 AM, PDT

The latest trailer for Warner Bros.’s follow-up to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” dropped at New York Comic Con Sunday, and showed the world under attack from possibly alien invaders.

Beginning with a Lois Lane (Amy Adams) dream sequence featuring Henry Cavill as Clark Kent in his first appearance in a trailer for “Justice League,” the last trailer before the premiere faces his apparent death in the previous film head on. Batman (Ben Affleck) says that the world needs Superman, and that he “made him a promise.” Bruce Wayne also describes a dream he had as “the end of the world.” When Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) suggests it’s an invasion, he replies, “I think it’s something more, something darker.”

Justice League” follows Wonder Woman and Batman as they team up to assemble a group of heroes to fight a newly awakened threat. Set to a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and taking »


- Erin Nyren

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Box Office: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Fades to $31.5 Million Opening Weekend

8 October 2017 8:10 AM, PDT

Blade Runner 2049” is heading for a downbeat $31.5 million opening weekend at 4,058 sites in North America.

Sunday’s estimated result throws serious doubt onto what had been high hopes for a box office success story. In one of the most surprising turnarounds in recent years, “Blade Runner 2049” fell far short of expectations, which had been in the $45 million to $50 million range at the start of the weekend amid stellar reviews, strong advance ticket sales, and the revered status of 1982’s original “Blade Runner.”

Instead, the film grossed only a moderate $12.7 million on Friday, including $4 million from Thursday night previews. Saturday saw an 11% decline to $11.4 million and Sunday’s projected total was $7.4 million.

The key factors for the under-performance were the movie’s 163-minute running time — which limits the number of showings each day — plus far less traction among younger moviegoers than anticipated.

“The core of enthusiastic and loyal ‘Blade Runner’ fans were over 25 and predominantly male »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Jackie Chan in ‘The Foreigner’

7 October 2017 4:35 PM, PDT

Jackie Chan has broken a lot of bones over the years — his own, and those of his unfortunate onscreen rivals — but for the life of me, I can’t remember ever seeing Chan cry. But cry he does in “The Foreigner,” an old-fashioned one-man vendetta thriller very much in the vein of its director Martin Campbell’s gnarly 1985 miniseries “Edge of Darkness,” in which the opening stretch allows the action-comedy stunt master a chance to flex an entirely different muscle: his tear ducts.

Chan plays Quan Ngoc Minh, an immigrant restaurant owner who demands justice after his daughter is killed in an Ira-linked terrorist attack. Yes, you read that right: The villains in this U.K.-set action movie are Northern Irish radicals who call themselves the “New Ira” — which is just one of the curiosities you get when taking a pulpy 1992 suspense novel published five years before the Ira ceasefire and attempting to set it a »


- Peter Debruge

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Trump on Harvey Weinstein: ‘Not at All Surprised’ by Sexual Assault Allegations

7 October 2017 3:10 PM, PDT

President Donald Trump addressed on Saturday the sexual harassment scandal that’s engulfed power producer Harvey Weinstein following an explosive New York Times report chronicling decades of allegations.

According to the White House pool report, Trump said he’s known Weinstein for a long time. “I’m not at all surprised to see it,” he said when reporters asked about the sexual assault allegations waged  by multiple women against Weinstein.

When asked about the correlation between the Weinstein controversy and his own following the leak of an “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump made crude remarks about a reporter, he said, “That’s locker room (talk)” — the same response he gave last year when the audio was first released.

Several White House correspondents who were congregated outside the White House before Trump left for North Carolina also shared his remarks on social media.

“Just In: Trump on Harry Weinstein: I’ve known him a long time, I »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Film Review: ‘Shock and Awe’

7 October 2017 1:07 PM, PDT

The shock feels less than shocking and the awe less than awesome in Rob Reiner’s righteously motivated but clunkily executed exposé of media manipulation in the run-up to the Iraq War, a distributor-seeking drama which premiered Friday at the Zurich Film Festival, before the left-leaning director’s last political foray, “Lbj,” has even reached theaters. While its message, literally spelled out in an opening quote about the necessity of a free press in a true democracy, should sing with resonance in today’s divided social climate, the comfortable filmmaking sands its potential relevance down to a polished, unprovocative sheen. Romantic subplots, exposition-heavy conversations and underdeveloped secondary characters further contribute to a remove that’s at odds with the still-raw recent history the film tracks.

With elements of courtroom drama and high-level corruption investigation mixed into the heroes’ journey of four crusading reporters pursuing the truth about WMDs and Iraq when so many others became mouthpieces for »


- Jessica Kiang

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Box Office: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Dominates but Falls Short of Forecasts

7 October 2017 7:36 AM, PDT

Blade Runner 2049” is dominating the domestic box office, but coming in under forecasts with a $36 million opening weekend at 4,058 North American sites, estimates showed Saturday.

The sci-fi sequel had been pegged this week to launch between $45 million and $50 million — similar to 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which debuted to $45 million. Reviews are stellar with an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and moviegoers gave “Blade Runner 2049” an A- CinemaScore.

But the film only grossed $12.7 million on Friday, including $4 million from Thursday night previews. The move’s lengthy 163-minute run time cuts down the number of showings each day and may have dampened interest — particularly among younger moviegoers.

Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment. The follow-up to 1982’s “Blade Runner,” directed by Denis Villeneuve and laden with special effects, carries a $150 million price tag. It »


- Dave McNary and Erin Nyren

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SAG-AFTRA Re-Elects Clyde Kusatsu as National VP for Los Angeles

7 October 2017 1:16 AM, PDT

SAG-aftra delegates have re-elected veteran actor Clyde Kusatsu to a two-year term as national VP for the Los Angeles branch — the largest of the performers union.

Kusatsu, who lost the presidency of the Los Angeles local chapter to Jane Austin in August, won re-election Friday at the SAG-aftra biennial convention at the Sheraton Universal. The four -day event is closed to the news media.

Kusatsu has dozens of credits including a recurring role on “The Young and the Restless,” and is part of the ruling Unite For Strength faction, led by President Gabrielle Carteris.

Rebecca Damon won re-election to a two-year term as executive vice president of the performers union over Matthew Modine. The exec VP slot is the second-highest elected post in SAG-aftra and acts in the place of the president if the president is absent.

Six other national VPs were elected — Liz Zazzi, New York; Ilyssa Fradin, Mid-Sized Locals; Suzanne Burkhead, Small »


- Dave McNary

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Bob Weinstein Takes Reins as Embattled Brother Harvey Takes ‘Indefinite Leave’

6 October 2017 7:45 PM, PDT

Bob Weinstein, co-founder and co-chairman of Weinstein Co. and Miramax, has long been overshadowed by his older brother Harvey, even when his Dimension Films label was producing most of the profits through commercial hits such as the “Scream,” “Scary Movie” and “Spy Kids” franchises.

Now, in a sudden turn of events, Bob Weinstein is attempting to wrest control of the Weinstein Co. as his high-profile sibling fights for his professional life amid allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior stretching back decades. A scathing New York Times story published Thursday reported that eight settlements have been paid to alleged victims, including actress Rose McGowan, over the past two decades.

On Friday evening, the TWC board confirmed that Harvey Weinstein has been placed on “indefinite leave” and that a law firm has been hired to investigate the allegations. Bob Weinstein and chief operating officer David Glasser will jointly run the company in the interim. It »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Female News Anchor Accuses Harvey Weinstein of Masturbating in Front of Her

6 October 2017 7:07 PM, PDT

A former news anchor has come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of forcing her to watch him masturbate in the hallway of a restaurant. Lauren Sivan, a former news anchor in New York, tells the Huffington Post that Weinstein trapped her in the hallway of a restaurant and masturbated in front of her until he ejaculated into a potted plant in the hall.

In the article by Yashar Ali, Sivan explains that she did not come forward with the accusation sooner because she was in a relationship at the time and she feared Weinstein’s power, but she did relay the event to friends.

The masturbation incident, which took place a decade ago at the restaurant-club Socialista, occurred after Sivan rebuffed his attempt to kiss her. Weinstein did not respond to Ali’s request for response.

Weinstein has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Weinstein Co. amid sexual harassment allegations from several women.

Also »


- Matt Fernandez

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Film News Roundup: Crispin Glover, Ronen Rubinstein to Star in Horror Movie ‘Smiley Face Killers’

6 October 2017 5:50 PM, PDT

In today’s film news roundup, Crispin Glover is starring in “Smiley Face Killers,” “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” will open the Hawaii Film Festival, and a virtual reality advertisement is launched for “Jigsaw.”

Production Start

Ronen Rubinstein and Crispin Glover are starring in the independent horror movie “Smiley Face Killers,” scripted by Bret Easton Ellis, Variety has learned exclusively.

Production has commenced across multiple states with Tim Hunter directing. Braxton Pope is producing with David Wulf and Ellis. Jason Miller of Silver State Productions is executive producing.

The film’s plot has been kept largely under wraps, but is based on actual events and the conspiracy theories that have arisen on the internet as a result of serial deaths of young men that shared common characteristics.

Rubinstein will play the lead. The film reteams Glover with Hunter, who directed him in “River’s Edge.” Pope and Ellis teamed on “The Canyons,” the »


- Dave McNary

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James Woods Says Property Listing Retirement Announcement Was a Mistake

6 October 2017 5:28 PM, PDT

Updated: Actor James Woods, who has said his conservative political views make it hard to get acting jobs, posted a property listing containing an announcement of his retirement from acting on Friday. Woods now says that announcement was in error.

“My career is not going to end in a real estate announcement,” Woods told The Washington Post in an interview.

According to the original statement from real estate agent Allen Gammons, Woods “is retiring from the entertainment industry and hopes to ‘simplify his life’ by selling ‘his many real estate holdings on both coasts.'”

The statement from the agent read that he wanted to spend more time on photography, antiquing and poker. Woods owns four homes in Rhode Island.

According to Woods, he had spoken with Gammons about his property holdings and indicated that he wanted to “simplify by having less property as [he went] toward retirement.” When Gammons read the listing back to him over the phone »


- Matt Fernandez and Erin Nyren

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ Opens With $6.8 Million in Early International Box Office

6 October 2017 4:55 PM, PDT

Blade Runner 2049” has opened with $6.8 million in its first two days at the international box office and is on track for a launch weekend of $48 million to $52 million in foreign markets.

Sony disclosed the results, which came from launches on Wednesday and Thursday from about 60% of the marketplace overseas. “Blade Runner 2049” saw first-place launches in the U.K. with $1.1 million, Russia with $804,000, and Australia with $685,000. Germany opened with $516,000.

Sony and Alcon Entertainment financed the sequel, which carries a $150 million price tag. Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution with projections for a $45 million opening weekend.

Sony said a start approaching $50 million internationally would put “Blade Runner 2049” in a similar position to “Gravity,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “The Martian” — which all had strong reviews and staying power in foreign markets.

“We look forward to a long run internationally as a critically acclaimed blockbuster made for the big screen, with »


- Dave McNary

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Beleaguered Harvey Weinstein Likely to Fall From Awards Season Throne

6 October 2017 4:43 PM, PDT

As storm clouds gather around movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in the wake of an explosive New York Times report with allegations of sexual harassment and other misbehavior, his company’s Oscar season hopefuls are staring down an unsure future.

Frankly, though, this year’s potential contenders — “The Current War” and “Wind River” — were already facing an uphill battle. Unlike previous years when the Weinstein Co. and Miramax juggled numerous strong awards contenders, mounting expensive, competitive campaigns and lavish Oscar and Golden Globes parties, the company’s financial woes have resulted in pared-back awards spending.

Weinstein’s awards season presence is often felt beyond his on-screen contenders. He holds an annual pre-Oscars bash at the Montage Beverly Hills, where illuminaries like Oprah Winfrey and business leaders like Amazon chief Jeff Bezos have been guests. Last February, Beyonce, Jay-z, and Lin-Manuel Miranda attended the soiree.

He also partners with Netflix every year for a well-attended Golden Globes after-party at »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Rebecca Damon Re-Elected SAG-AFTRA Exec VP Over Matthew Modine

6 October 2017 4:33 PM, PDT

SAG-aftra convention delegates have re-elected Rebecca Damon to a two-year term as executive vice president of the performers union over Matthew Modine.

The vote took place Friday on the opening day of the biennial SAG-aftra National Convention in Los Angeles at the Universal Sheraton. The four-day event is closed to the news media.

The exec VP slot is the second-highest elected post in SAG-aftra and shall act in the place of the president if the president is absent.

Damon has been in the exec VP post since April, 2016, succeeding Gabrielle Carteris in the slot. Carteris became president after Ken Howard died, serving the final 16 months of his term and was re-elected in August over Esai Morales and three other candidates. Damon has also been serving as acting president of the New York local since Mike Hodge passed away last month.

“It is my honor to continue to serve the members of SAG-aftra as executive vice president and »


- Dave McNary

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‘Transformers’ Bumps ‘Wonder Woman’ to No. 2 on Disc Sales Charts

6 October 2017 4:29 PM, PDT

Transformers: The Last Knight,” from Paramount Home Media Distribution, debuted at No. 1 on both national home video sales charts the week ended Sept. 30.

But Warner’s “Wonder Woman” movie, although bumped down to the No. 2 spot, remained in high demand, selling 87% as many units as the latest “Transformers” film in its second week of release.

The No. 3 spot on Npd VideoScan’s overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, went to Lionsgate’s “47 Meters Down,” the latest in a series of shark-attack thrillers. The film made more than $44 million in U.S. theaters.

Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came in at No. 3 on Npd’s Blu-ray Disc-only sales chart and No. 5 on the overall disc sales chart. Earlier, the film spent three weeks at No. 1.

Universal Pictures’ “The Mummy” slipped to No. 4 on both charts its third week in stores, while the No. 5 spot »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Harvey Weinstein Takes ‘Indefinite’ Leave of Absence; Board Mounts Investigation

6 October 2017 4:08 PM, PDT

Harvey Weinstein will take an “indefinite” leave of absence from the Weinstein Company, the board announced Friday afternoon.

The board has also retained John Kiernan, of Debevoise & Plimpton Llp, to conduct an independent investigation of sex harassment allegations following the New York Times’ bombshell report on Thursday.

“We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today,” the board said in a statement. “As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s independent investigation, and Harvey’s own personal decisions.”

Co-chairman Bob Weinstein and COO David Glasser will run the company in Weinstein’s absence.

Weinstein is not going down without a fight. In a lengthy board meeting on Thursday, he made it clear that he intends to return. The »


- Gene Maddaus

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