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‘Coco’ Tops $400 Million at Worldwide Box Office

18 hours ago

Disney-Pixar’s animated “Coco” has topped the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office, earning $138.6 million domestically and $263 million internationally.

Disney made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that it still has about a third of the international market to launch in, including Australia (Dec. 26), Italy (Dec. 28), Brazil (Jan. 4), Korea (Jan. 11), the U.K. (Jan. 19), and Japan (March 16).

The top international market has been China, which has nearly matched the North American total with $133 million. “Coco” has stayed strong in China following its opening weekend of $18 million, following with an impressive $43.7 million in its second frame and declining by only 21% in its third weekend.

The film, which focuses on a 12-year-old boy and the celebration of the Day of the Dead and its music, set a box office record in Mexico with $56.8 million following a late October launch ahead of the holiday.

“Coco” is also getting awards-season traction, winning the best animated feature award from the National Board of »


- Dave McNary

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Mica: Mexico’s Film Tank Pitches to the Small Screen with Genre Thriller ‘Dead Days’

2 hours ago

Film Tank, one of Mexico’s most prominent independent production companies behind hits “Northless” and “The Maid,” will be enlisting years of big-screen experience in a move to TV with their latest project in development, a high-concept genre thriller titled “Dead Days.”

Film Tank CEO and producer Edgar San Juan pitched the idea at Mexico City’s 2nd Mercado e Industria de Cine y el Audiovisual (Mica).

The company’s catalog is loaded with high-end content which has received both critical and audience acclaim. In 2009 they produced Rigoberto Pérezcano’s, first fiction feature, “Northless,” which won the Knf Award at Rotterdam, as well as Casa de América and Films in Progress awards at San Sebastian. That same year the company also co-produced on one of Latin America’s greatest critical successes, Sebastián Silva’s debut movie “The Maid,” which received a Golden Globe nomination as well as awards at Sundance, Torino and Miami. »


- Jamie Lang

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Asian Brilliant Stars Take Wider Perspective for Second Edition

3 hours ago

“Youth,” “Wolf Warriors 2,” “Dangal,” and “Bad Genius” are among the prominent film titles that will compete for the Asian Brilliant Stars awards. The prizes will be announced in February in Berlin.

The Awards’ launch event in Beijing on Tuesday took on a interesting political tinge with one of the jurors criticizing China’s restrictions on freedom of expression, and the government’s clampdown on cultural relations with South Korea.

“Foreign prizes are much more likely to go to Japanese or Korean films, many of which are dark, about sex and violence, or the coldness of human nature,” said jury member Manfred Wong told Agence France Presse. “But because of China’s censorship system, there simply aren’t those kinds of films here,” he explained, stating no jury wanted to reward “warm movies full of positive energy”.

The awards will be decided by a jury including Wong, producer and former president of Hong Kong Film Awards; controversial Korean »


- Patrick Frater

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Australian Animation ‘Arkie’ Sold to Vision for China Release

5 hours ago

Australian-Canadian animated feature “Arkie” has been acquired by Vision Film Entertainment for distribution in China. Vision says it expects to release the film in 10,000 Chinese theaters.

The story is a fantastical adventure about an inquisitive young girl who leaves home for an epic journey to the dangerous metropolis where she needs to rescue her father from the clutches of a mysterious doctor. The English-language voice cast is headed by Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars”) as Arkie, and Jai Courtney (“Divergent”) as Dr. Maybee, and also includes Internet star Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor.

The film is directed by Luke Jurevicius, adapted from a graphic novel created by his brother, artist Nathan Jurevicius (“Scarygirl”). Production is by Passion Pictures Australia and Canada’s Nitrogen Studios, with Australia’s Luma handling animation. The producer credit goes to Sophie Byrne and executive producer status for John Stevenson (“Kung Fu Panda”). Sydney-based Odin’s Eye Entertainment is handling international rights »


- Patrick Frater

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CineAsia Hands Out Prizes as Hollywood Mega-Deal Looms

5 hours ago

Asia’s scale and importance as the world’s fastest-growing box office region were brought home as the CineAsia convention handed out its annual prizes against the backdrop of an impending Hollywood mega-deal.

India’s Ajay Bijli was named Asian exhibitor of the year and Yusuke Okada, of Japan’s Toei, Asian distributor of the year at the closing event in Hong Kong. Prizes were presented Thursday at an awards lunch at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, adjacent to the Wanchai convention center that since Monday had hosted the conference sessions and a related trade show.

CineAsia organizer Andrew Sunshine told Variety that attendance had grown by 10-15%, reaching record levels. That reflects continuing growth of the theatrical business in Asia, which now accounts for close to 40% of global box office.

Sony’s president of international releasing, Steven O’Dell opened his presentation of the studio’s 2018 releasing slate by announcing that Sony Pictures Entertainment is “putting more emphasis »


- Patrick Frater

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Spurlock, Jacir, Cooke, Yousra, El Ganainy at Variety Studio Dubai

6 hours ago

“People don’t think about the damage food does to us when when eat it, or the damage it does to the environment from which it came,” Morgan Spurlock says, talking up “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken.” Annemarie Jacir, Dubai Fest best picture winner for “Wajib,” explains that she’s interested in human relationships but we live in a political world, and slams president Trump’s “ridiculous” recent decision on Jerusalem: “It’s an affront to anybody who care about freedom and justice in the world.”

Watch five Variety Studio Dubai interviews where film directors and stars, who have thought long and hard about the subjects they treat, deliver sensitive, thoughtful comments about subjects ranging from fast food to the extent to which how we feel is determined by the time and place we live in (Dominic Cooke on “On Chisel Beach”) to the world being at the beginning of World War III, whose weapons »


- John Hopewell

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Irrfan Khan, Anup Singh Talk ‘Lasya,’ ‘Scorpions’

6 hours ago

Indian auteur Anup Singh and internationally celebrated actor Irrfan Khan (“The Lunchbox”) are about to embark upon their third project together. The duo combined for 2013’s “Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost” that won the Netpac award at Toronto and the Dioraphte Award at Rotterdam.

Their second collaboration is 2017’s “The Song of Scorpions”, also starring French-Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani and Indian cinema legend Waheeda Rehman. The film bowed at Locarno and continued its festival run with Haifa, London, Singapore and Dubai.

“Lasya: The Gentle Dance” will be the next Khan-Singh combine. “I have a first draft of the script, I haven’t spoken about it at all with Irrfan,” says Singh. “I am waiting to find a moment of calm, when he and I can be together and I can come to him with the full confidence of no distractions.”

The director and actor participated in a freewheeling discussion about their working relationship at the »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Disney Appoints Carol Choi as Korea Gm

8 hours ago

Carol Choi has been appointed as Gm of the Walt Disney Company’s Korea office. She is also named as head of marketing in North Asia, covering Greater China, Korea, and Japan.

Based in Seoul, Choi will report to Luke Kang, MD of Twdc in North Asia. Country marketing heads will dual report to Choi and their respective country managers.

The announcement comes at a time when Disney is widely expected to announce a $60 billion corporate maneuver with studio rival 21st Century Fox. If that deal comes to fruition, there will likely be further reorganization of theatrical film, TV and channels businesses.

Choi has been at Disney since 2006, starting out in a home entertainment role. She is currently VP marketing in Greater China. Prior to joining Disney, Choi was with Universal Music and managed a joint venture with the Shanghai Media Group.

Related storiesDisney to Buy 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion in Historic Hollywood MergerKorea Box Office: »


- Patrick Frater

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Dubai: Festival President Abdulhamid Juma on Growing The Market And Opening to TV

9 hours ago

Abdulhamid Juma was part of the initial team that founded the Dubai Intl. Film Festival (Diff) in 2004, and has been its chairman since 2006. An influential figure in Arab cinema circles, Juma has shepherded the Dubai event to its current standing as a key driver in the Middle East largely thanks to its market component that has grown more or less steadily amid shakeups in the region’s festival landscape as it became more attuned to the local industry’s fundamental needs. The big change at the Dubai Film Market this year was the introduction of a TV strand. This prompted several announcements for local high-end shows, including an Arabic adaptation of American legal drama “Suits,” and saw Netflix execs Felipe Tewes, Director of International Originals, and Sebastian Tobelem, who handles acquisitions in the region, sit down for meetings with many local players. The 14th edition of Diff could in fact go down in the annals as having »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Oprah Winfrey to Receive 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes (Watch)

10 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes.

Each year the recipient of the prestigious award is selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) board of directors and must be someone who has made “an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” HFPA president Meher Tatna said Winfrey embodies this qualification for the generations she has “celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades.”

“As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today,” Tatna said in a statement. “Holding titles such as Chairman, CEO and Founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden »


- Danielle Turchiano

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Film News Roundup: Kevin Hart Boards Action-Comedy ‘On the Run’ at Universal

12 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Kevin Hart is set to star as an assassin in “On the Run,” while kidnap thriller “Days of Power” and French drama “Milla” are set for U.S. releases.

Project Launch

Universal Pictures has launched development of action-comedy “On the Run” with Kevin Hart attached to star and produce through his Hartbeat Productions company along with Will Packer. The studio bought a pitch by Aeysha Carr, who will write the script in which a hit man’s assigned target turns out to be a surprise. Carr is a supervising producer and a writer on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Packer has a first-look deal at Universal. He’s worked with Hart on the “Ride Along” and “Think Like A Man” franchises. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Distribution

Realize Productions has signed a domestic distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures to the thriller “Days of Power” with a Feb. 20 VOD/digital »


- Dave McNary

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AMC Adding Late-Night Screenings for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

13 hours ago

AMC will show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at 2 a.m. Friday at a “significant” number of its Imax and Dolby Cinema locations due to customer demand.

Locations with the late shows include AMC Loews Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, to AMC River Park Square in Spokane, Wash.

Scheduling 2 a.m. screenings is not unprecedented, but it is rare. AMC did so two years ago for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which went on to set an all-time domestic record.

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “The Last Jedi” will start showing in North America at 6 p.m. Thursday. Additionally, several AMC locations will be showing the movie on a 24-hour schedule from Thursday night into Friday morning, including New York City locations AMC Empire 25, AMC Fresh Meadows and AMC Lincoln along with the AMC Southpoint 17 in Durham/Raleigh, Nc.

AMC may add more locations to the 24-hour list due to its general policy that it will »


- Dave McNary

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Donald Trump Is ‘Mentally Unfit’ to Be U.S. President, Rob Reiner Says

14 hours ago

President Donald Trump is “mentally unfit” to be U.S. leader, Rob Reiner told Variety at the Dubai Intl. Film Festival, but the director fears the American press is failing to hold the Trump administration accountable for its actions. Reiner, who is best known for “A Few Good Men,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Princess Bride,” was at the festival to promote his latest movie, “Shock and Awe.”

“Donald Trump is the single-most unqualified human-being to ever assume the Presidency of the United States. He is mentally unfit. Not only does he not understand how government works, he has no interest in trying to find out how it works,” Reiner said, when asked to compare Trump with President Lyndon Johnson, who was the subject of Reiner’s recently released biopic “Lbj.”

Reiner added: “Lbj – except for the Vietnam War, which is a terrible stain on his legacy – was probably the most effective and successful President as far »


- Leo Barraclough

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Tiffany Haddish Joins Ike Barinholtz in Satirical Thriller ‘The Oath’

15 hours ago

Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish has come on board as an executive producer and star in Ike Barinholtz’s satirical thriller “The Oath,” which will mark his feature directorial debut.

The cast also includes Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”), Billy Magnussen, Meredith Hagner, Jon Barinholtz, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, and John Cho. QC Entertainment, which also backed Jordan Peele’s horror hit “Get Out” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” will produce and finance the film, which was unveiled in September.

The movie — set in a near-future America in which citizens are required to take a loyalty oath — follows a man trying to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family. Barinholtz wrote the script.

In addition to Barinholtz, the producers are Sean McKittrick, Ray Mansfield, Edward H. Hamm, Jr., Andrew Robinson, and David Stassen. QC Entertainment and UTA are co-representing “The Oath” for domestic sales.

Haddish starred on the NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show” then broke out »


- Dave McNary

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Hugh Jackman to Perform ‘Greatest Showman’ Song Live During Fox’s ‘A Christmas Story Live’ Telecast

16 hours ago

Hugh Jackman will perform a song from 20th Century Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” live as part of a commercial spot to run Sunday during Fox’s presentation of the musical “A Christmas Story Live.”

Jackman and co-stars Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Keala Settle will perform “Come Alive” from the P.T. Barnum biopic during a commercial break in the three-hour telecast of “A Christmas Story Live.” The tune was penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the score and songs for “Christmas Story.”

The two-and-a-half minute spot will feature elaborate staging with 150 dancers, and will be directed by “Showman” helmer Michael Gracey along with live TV vet Beth McCarthy-Miller. “Christmas Story” will originate from a soundstage on the Warner Bros. lot. Jackman and Co. will perform from an adjacent soundstage. “Showman” opens Dec. 20.

“We are creating what we expect will be a memorable performance providing energy and excitement to viewers that drives them to »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Redbox Launches Digital Movie and TV Service, Without Disney Titles

16 hours ago

Redbox is finally opening a bridge to an online digital-entertainment future, years after the streaming-video revolution took off.

The company, known for its nationwide network of DVD-rental kiosks, publicly launched Redbox On Demand on Wednesday, a service stocked with more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles available for VOD rental or electronic sell-through.

Redbox has inked deals for the service with Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.

Disney is the notable exception. The Mouse House hasn’t had a direct deal with Redbox for DVDs since 2012, and it is now suing Redbox, seeking to stop it from selling digital codes (extracted from DVD combo packs) for downloading or streaming Disney movies. Redbox has said in response that it’s “confident in our pro-consumer position.” Meanwhile, Disney operates a digital-locker service, Movies Anywhere, for storing and accessing content purchased from different retailers and has buy-in from other studios — but which Redbox »


- Todd Spangler

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Nabil Ayouch: ‘No Subject Should be Taboo in the Arab World’

16 hours ago

“No subject should be taboo in the Arab World today,” Nabil Ayouch, one of its leading film directors, told Variety Studio at the Dubai Festival, where he presented his latest feature, Casablanca-set “Razzia,” a multi-part fresco of how an act of censorship in the past plays out over four characters’ lives in the present.

Avouch went on to detail the dangers of restrictions: “If we want to develop this part of the world, if we want to give a voice to the talents – and there are many talents in the Arab world – we should be capable of watching ourselves in the mirror.”

He went on: “If we do not speak about ourselves as we really are, some other people will come and do it instead of us.”

But Avouch is still “full of hope” for the Arab world. “We know that in this region we are not different. They want to buy us into thinking we’re different: »


- John Hopewell

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SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris: ‘People Are Feeling Empowered’

17 hours ago

SAG-aftra’s leaders believe the entertainment industry’s sexual harassment scandal is having a profound impact on the union’s 160,000 members.

“People are feeling empowered to speak out and there has been a significant increase in the number of people doing so,” said Gabrielle Carteris in an interview with Variety on the eve of Wednesday’s SAG Awards nominations announcement. The number of reports of sexual harassment that come into SAG-aftra now average at least five a day — far above the level prior to the Oct. 5 bombshell revelations about disgraced executive Harvey Weinstein. Carteris and National Executive Director David White asserted that the surge in reporting reflects a cultural sea change on the entire issue.

“The calls that we are getting are coming in from across the entire spectrum,” White said. “We are aware that the simple act of naming the problem, along with having new tools to protect oneself, definitely helps to empower our members. »


- Dave McNary

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Patrick Stewart on ‘Star Trek’: The ‘Highlight That Had the Biggest Impact on My Life’

17 hours ago

Sir Patrick Stewart was in the United Arab Emirates this week to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dubai Film Festival. Variety Studio caught up with the legendary star of stage and screen to discuss that lifetime of achievements, and its unconventional highlights.

“There have been so many highlights, many of which would not be seen by the outside world as highlights. But, they were for me,” Stewart started.

According to him, the first such highlight-in-disguise came in the form of a six-pounds-fifty a week salary for filling the role of stage-manager/actor in a preparatory theater. He said: “That was a highlight because it moved me from a trained actor who doesn’t have a job, to a professional actor being paid.”

He then recalled another: “Finally being accepted into the Royal Shakespeare company. The only ambition I had ever really had was to work with that organization.”

Similarly meaningful »


- Jamie Lang

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Oscars: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Takes Aim Below the Line

17 hours ago

In some sense, it seems silly to continue weighing the awards prospects for Lucasfilm’s ongoing “Star Wars” franchise each year. With “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and now “The Last Jedi,” it’s become clear, both in how these extravaganzas are realized on the screen and how Disney chooses to position them at year’s end, that trophies aren’t part of the equation. Revenue and firmly rooted brand appeal drive the machine, and even when a filmmaker like Rian Johnson steps in with the first truly fresh writer-director vision of the series since George Lucas breathed life into it 40 years ago, there just seems to be a ceiling on how galvanizing the material can truly be outside the established fandom.

That’s not to say what Johnson has created is otherwise disposable. Quite the opposite. Albeit overstuffed and built on a script that spins its wheels a bit while trying to reconcile everything being thrown »


- Kristopher Tapley

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