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‘Boondock Saints’ Director Troy Duffy Boards Thriller ‘Blood Spoon Council’

7 hours ago

The Boondock Saints” director Troy Duffy is making his return to directing for the first time in nearly a decade with the psychological thriller “The Blood Spoon Council.”

Producer Scott Clayton and his Oceanside Media announced Tuesday that he’s producing and fully financing “The Blood Spoon Council.” Duffy last directed “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” in 2009.

The Blood Spoon Council” is titled after a vigilante group of the same name that hunts down and executes serial killers. When the FBI commissions a rogue profiler to get inside the head of the group, the investigation is derailed by a game of cat-and-mouse.

Duffy is developing the feature “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em” and the comedy “Black Ghost,” which he is writing with Cedric The Entertainer. He’s partnered with Don Carmody of Dctv to create “The Boondock Saints: Origins.”

The original 1999 “Boondock Saints,” starring Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Norman Reedus, »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 3’ to Dominate Independence Day Weekend

8 hours ago

The summer box office this year hasn’t been the friendliest to franchise films, but “Despicable Me 3” looks to buck the trend.

In a record 4,529 locations — the widest domestic release ever — Illumination and Universal’s threequel could land in the $90 million-$100 million range this weekend. The studio is estimating slightly lower, around $85 million.

Either way, that’s a win for the franchise, which has grossed over $955 million domestically and $2.7 billion worldwide with the first three installations (including the “Minions” spinoff). “Despicable Me 2” opened this weekend in 2013, and earned $83.5 million. The franchise has historically performed well overseas — this installment has already taken in $20 million internationally from six select territories over the past two weekends.

Related

Film Review: ‘Despicable Me 3

Steve Carell plays double duty in “Despicable Me 3” as the series’ protagonist Gru, and now also his twin brother, Dru. The plot centers on the brothers, as they team up for a criminal heist. “South Park »


- Seth Kelley

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Hugh Jackman to Play Senator Gary Hart in ‘The Frontrunner’ Movie

10 hours ago

Hugh Jackman will star as Sen. Gary Hart in Jason Reitman’s political drama “The Frontrunner.”

Hart was the frontrunner during the early stages of the 1988 race for the Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was rocked by revelations of an extramarital affair with Donna Rice. The Colorado senator then dropped out of the race.

Matt Bai, Jay Carson, and Reitman wrote the screenplay, based on Bai’s book “All the Truth Is Out,” which chronicles Hart’s rise and dramatic fall. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who had been trailing Hart, won the Democratic nomination and then lost to Republican George H.W. Bush.

“The Frontrunner” is being produced by Jason Reitman and Helen Estabrook through their Right of Way Films in partnership with Bron StudiosAaron L. Gilbert.

Related

How a Makeup Artist Helped Hugh Jackman Look His Worst in ‘Logan

Jackman starred in Fox’s “Logan,” which grossed $618 million worldwide for Fox. He »


- Dave McNary

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Gwendoline Christie Joins Steve Carell in Robert Zemeckis’ Drama

10 hours ago

Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie has joined the cast of the untitled Robert Zemeckis project opposite Steve Carell.

Diane Kruger, Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae are also starring in the movie. Carell will star as a man who builds a miniature World War II village as a way to recover from a violent assault. Christie will be his caretaker.

the story of one broken man’s fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.

Christie is well known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s Game of Thrones and stars opposite Nicole Kidman and Elizabeth Moss in “Top of the Lake.” She appeared as Captain Phasma in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and will return for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Zemeckis directs and produces from a screenplay he wrote with Caroline Thompson. Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke of Zemeckis’ Universal-based ImageMovers banner also produce, alongside »


- Dave McNary

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Gail Mancuso Directing Road Trip Comedy ‘Besties’ for DreamWorks

10 hours ago

Veteran television director Gail Mancuso will direct the road trip comedy “Besties” for DreamWorks Pictures.

The project has been in the works since last year when DreamWorks picked up the film rights to the script written by Cassie Daniels and Mark Bartosic. Ivan Reitman and Ali Bell are producing with Tom Pollock as executive producer.

The story follows a woman embarks on an epic road trip with her best friends to break up the wedding of her childhood crush after discovering a long-lost love note.

Universal would distribute. The project is eyeing late 2017 start.

Mancuso is a back-to-back Emmy winner for “Modern Family” in 2013 and 2014. She has directed over 300 television episodes, including “Modern Family,” “30 Rock,” “Friends” and “Roseanne.” Mancuso also has received three DGA nominations for directorial achievement in a comedy series.

She is represented by ICM Partners and law firm Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.

Related storiesFox and Paramount Forge Unique Distribution Partnership in ItalyUniversal Dates »


- Dave McNary

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Ansel Elgort to Portray John F. Kennedy in World War II Drama ‘Mayday 109’

11 hours ago

Baby Driver” star Ansel Elgort has signed on to play John F. Kennedy in the drama “Mayday 109,” based on the 1943 sinking of Kennedy’s PT boat during World War II.

The project has been in development since 2015, when Beau Flynn and Basil Iwanyk acquired a script by Samuel Franco and Evan Kilgore. Kent Kubena and Taylor Zea will oversee for Thunder Road and Scott Sheldon will oversee for Flynn Picture Co. No director is yet attached.

Kennedy was the commander of patrol torpedo boat PT 109 in the South Pacific when it was rammed by a Japanese destroyer Amagin, killing two crewmen. With the crew presumed dead by allies, Kennedy led the 11 survivors in swimming to a deserted island, where the crew had to hide from passing Japanese barges.

Kennedy swam over two miles to two other islands in search of help and food, then led his men to Olasana Island, which »


- Dave McNary

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Michael Nyqvist, ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Star, Dies at 56

11 hours ago

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the original “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” films alongside Noomi Rapace, died on Tuesday following a battle with lung cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 56.

“On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer,” said his rep in a statement. “Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”

Though best known for his role in the Swedish “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, Nyqvist also broke into American film. He played the villain alongside Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol »


- Alex Stedman

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China Box Office Audit: Why Hollywood Needed to Get Tough

13 hours ago

The movie business has taken a hands-off approach to ticketing fraud in China over the last few years, worried that if it’s too aggressive, it could alienate the world’s second-largest film market. But as negotiations loom for a new film import agreement, Hollywood is finally getting tough.

The Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood’s lobbying arm, has tapped PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the box office results of certain select titles, according to two individuals with knowledge of the situation. Bloomberg News first reported details of the audit.

The audit results could be used in trade negotiations to bolster the major studios’ case for stricter accounting standards or a greater share of the China box office.

“If Pricewaterhouse can show that Hollywood has not gotten their fair due, then that would be an argument for increasing the percentage,” says Stanley Rosen, a political science professor at USC who specializes in China.

Related »


- Brent Lang and Gene Maddaus

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‘Deadpool 2’ Production Kicks Off, Ryan Reynolds Shares First Photo From Set

14 hours ago

Ryan Reynolds announced the first day of production for “Deadpool 2” with a photo on his Instagram account.

“The sun sets on day 1. Feels good to be back. This dog can hunt,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds will return in the sequel as the foul-mouthed superhero with Josh Brolin signed on as Cable. »


- Dave McNary

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Lizzy Caplan, Rick Okon board Sky’s $28m ‘Das Boot’ Sequel (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Rick Okon (“Tatort”) will captain the U-612 U-boat in the upcoming “Das Boot” series, with Lizzy Caplan (“Masters of Sex”), and August Wittgenstein (“The Crown”) also cast in the €25 million drama.

A 104-day shoot for the high-end series starts at end-August and will take in La Rochelle, Prague, Malta and Munich. Billed as a sequel to the 1981 film and Lothar-Günther Buchheim novel, the show will go out on Sky’s pay TV channels in Germany, Italy, and the U.K.

Other cast members include Vicky Krieps (“Colonia Dignidad”), Jonathan Zaccaϊ (“Robin Hood”), Leonard Scheicher (“Finsterworld”), Robert Stadlober (“Summer Storm”), Franz Dinda (“The Cloud”), and Stefan Konarske (“The Young Karl Marx”). German filmmaker Andreas Prochaska (“The Dark Valley”) will direct the eight-part series, which launches on Sky next fall.

Sonar Entertainment, Sky, and Bavaria Fernsehproduktion are making the series. Moritz Polter and Oliver Vogel, are the executive producers for Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, and »


- Stewart Clarke

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‘The Voice’ Contestant Aliyah Moulden Joins ‘Anastasia: Once Upon a Time’

15 hours ago

Aliyah Moulden, who competed on Season 12 of “The Voice,” has joined the upcoming live-action family comedy “Anastasia: Once Upon a Time.”

She joins the previously announced Emily Carey, who portrays the young Diana in “Wonder Woman.” Set in 1917, “Anastasia” is a re-telling of the classic story in which Anastasia Romanov escapes through a portal when her family is threatened by Vladimir Lenin, and finds herself in the year 1988, befriended by a young American girl.

Producers on “Anastasia: Once Upon a Time” are Armando GutierrezEli Lipnik, Peter Lees and Bret Jones. Blake Harris will direct from his screenplay.  The original concept for the story came from Gutierrez and Harris.

Moulden, 15, was one of the top three finalists on the most recent season of NBC’s “The Voice.”

Moulden will play the role of an ’80s pop star, who encounters the young Anastasia (Carey), when she emerges through the time portal. Moulden »


- Dave McNary

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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Unveils Series of Events to Celebrate 20th Anniversary

16 hours ago

Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse, which has gone from one theater to 28 locations since 1997, is unveiling a series of commemorative events to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Variety has learned exclusively.

“There is no better way for us to celebrate two decades of existence than sharing and celebrating movies we love,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “That’s what our company is all about, and that’s what Alamo20 is all about.”

The original Alamo Drafthouse was a single-screen theater showing second-run titles that had been converted from an old warehouse. The promise to patrons was “good  food, good beer and good film, all at the same place.”

Related

Alamo Drafthouse, Kodak Partner on 35Mm Film Celebration (Exclusive)

The location gained notice quickly with Austin players such as “Dazed and Confused” director Richard Linklater and Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News. Within its first year the venue was playing host to film premieres and hosting »


- Dave McNary

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EuropaCorp Sells Music Library to Sony/Atv for $16.3 Million

17 hours ago

Luc Besson’s studio EuropaCorp has sold its music library which spans over 1, 500 songs used in the company’s films, to Sony/Atv.

The deal, valued at 14.5 million Euros ($16.3 million), gives Sony/Atv the rights to more than 100 original scores for such movies as “Taken” ou “Lucy,” as well as songs from famed bands as Archive, Massive Attack, and composers Eric Serra and Alexandre Desplat.

Back in 2009, EuropaCorp has signed an exclusive licensing deal with Sony Music to have the company handle the international distribution to EuropaCorp’s original scores of new releases.

EuropaCorp is due to announce its yearly financial results ending in March 2017 on Wednesday. The company warned investors in February that it will post record losses this fiscal year, topping the $44 million loss in 2010.

The outfit is getting ready to release “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (pictured above) in France on July 26.

With an estimated budget of $180 million, “Valerian »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler on Their ‘The House’ Characters: ‘I Light a Guy on Fire’

17 hours ago

Five days into the summer, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler welcomed the season unpretentiously at New Line’s world premiere Monday of R-rated comedy “The House” at the Tcl Chinese Theatre.

“For something you’d want to see on a summer weekend, I think it hits the mark,” Ferrell mused. “Amy and I play very ordinary people who will do anything for their kid [and] get sucked into making this decision to open a casino in a basement. There’s this allure to Vegas  — that it’s one special hand to change your life even though most of the time, it doesn’t. I think we did a good job of moving that to a suburban setting.”

Related

The House’ Trailer: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler Run an Underground Casino (Watch)

Indeed, “The House” tells the story of parents (Ferrell and Poehler) who are talked into launching the casino to pay for their daughter’s college costs. Poehler »


- Dave McNary

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David Lynch, Ian McKellen, Xavier Dolan, Vanessa Redgrave set for Rome Film Festival Events

18 hours ago

Rome — David Lynch will be feted with a lifetime achievement award by the Rome Film Festival where the U.S. director of “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks” will also hold an onstage conversation with artistic director Antonio Monda.

Monda at a Rome press luncheon on Tuesday, called Lynch “simply the coolest director alive.” He also announced that British actor Ian McKellen; French Canadian wunderkind director/actor Xavier Dolan; Oscar-winning British actress Vanessa Redgrave and U.S. author Chuck Palahniuk (“Fight Club”) will be participating in other public conversations within the fest’s dedicated Close Encounters section.

As for movies, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming “Logan Lucky” will have its European preem in Rome. The heist comedy with an all star cast that includes Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Hilary Swank,  Katie Holmes and a platinum-coiffed Daniel Craig, hits U.S. theatres on August 18.

The twelfth edition of the Rome fest will run October 26-November 5, separately from Rome’s Mia »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Franchise Report Card: From Marvel to DC to the Dark Universe, Grading Hollywood’s Big Series

18 hours ago

In Hollywood, a studio is only as strong as its franchises. That’s bad news for a number of players. Recent months have not been kind to a number of major film series, as sequels to “Transformers,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Alien” have sputtered to the box office, and attempts to spawn new franchises, such as the Dark Universe, have collapsed. Some properties, particularly those in the DC Comics and Marvel realms, have emerged from the box office blood sports unscathed, but they remain exceptions to the rules.

Through the first half of 2017, here’s a look at which major series are still going strong and which franchises have spawned their last sequel.

Alien

State of the Franchise: After four decades and seven films, this extraterrestrial chiller may have offered up its last chestburster with “Alien: Convenant.” So far the film has earned a little more than half of what its predecessor, 2012’s “Prometheus, »


- Brent Lang and Seth Kelley

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Outsider Pictures Handling Sales on Small is Biutiful Title ‘1,200 Souls’ (Exclusive)

19 hours ago

Paris — Paul Hudson’s L.A. based Outsider Pictures has boarded “1,200 Souls,” a fantasy thriller set in the high Pyrenees, and one of the highlights at the 10th Spain-Ile de France Small is Biutiful in Paris, a prestigious boutique Spain-France co-production forum which unspooled June 23.

Outsider Pictures is handling international sales rights on “1,200 Souls,” the latest movie from the Zaragoza-based producer-director tandem of Marta Cabrera and Pablo Aragues whose “Novatos,” also repped by Hudson, was a Netflix worldwide distribution pick-up.

In his first two features, Aragues tackled sects (“Vigilo el camino”) and hazing (“Novatos”). Backed by the Aragon Film Commission, “1,200 Souls” is set in a small town in the lap of the Pyrenees, to which a young woman, Carla, returns to scatter her mother’s ashes, only to be confronted by violence, deaths and the seemingly supernatural, such as spontaneous combustion.

A film about “a girl looking for her origins,” Cabrera told Variety, »


- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy

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James Corden’s Production Company Preps ‘Bros’ Feature Documentary

20 hours ago

Fulwell 73, the U.K. producer that makes the “Late Late Show” and now counts James Corden as one of its partners, is making “Bros,” a feature doc about the British  boyband, which shot to fame in the 1980s and is reforming this year.

The documentary film will be financed by Lorton Entertainment and directed by by Fulwell 73’s David Soutar (“Harry Styles Behind The Music”). It will track the highs and lows of the band, from their breakout success, to family tragedy, and internal bust-ups.

Bros were hugely popular in the in the 1980s and the band became the youngest to have its own Wembley show. A reunion concert will take place at the London O2 later this year, the first gig since 1989, and which sold out in seven seconds when tickets went on sale late last year.

Band members Matt and Luke Goss will appear in the film, alongside »


- Stewart Clarke

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Fox’s $14.9 billion Sky Deal Cleared in Ireland, U.K. Announcement Imminent

20 hours ago

With a decision from U.K. authorities on 21st Century Fox’s proposed £11.7 billion ($14.9 billion) takeover of Sky imminent, Ireland has given the deal a green light.

Fox wants to fully acquire Sky, buying the shares in the European pay TV operator that it does not already own. It needed approval for the deal in all of the territories in which it operates, and has now had that in Austria, Germany, Italy, and the Republic of Ireland. Only the U.K., Sky’s largest market, is still to make a decision. The European Union has also given the deal its blessing.

The U.K. government received a report from media regulator Ofcom last week and a full decision is expected this week. Culture Minister Karen Bradley can either say she is minded to approve the deal in its current form, attach conditions, or refer it to U.K. competition authorities. The U. »


- Stewart Clarke

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Indian Censor Decisions Shift From Erratic to Surreal and Political

21 hours ago

The ongoing saga of India’s Central Board of Film Certification (Cbfc) making bizarre censorship decisions continued this week with rulings on the films “An Insignificant Man” and “Jab Harry Met Sejal.”

Directed by popular Bollywood filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, romantic drama “Jab Harry Met Sejal” stars Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma and is due an August 4 release. Cbfc chief Pahlaj Nihalani objected to the word “intercourse” used in one of the film’s promos and wanted it removed on the grounds that it was unsuitable for 12-year-olds.

Nihalani initially said that the word could stay if 100,000 people voted to keep it in. Now, he has added a few provisos. The votes have to be from married people aged 36 and above, as they are likely to have 12-year-old children.

Khan has told the Indian media that if the Cbfc see the word in the context of the whole film they would understand that the usage is appropriate »


- Naman Ramachandran

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