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California Production Tax Credits to Go to Quentin Tarantino’s New Movie

12 hours ago

The California Film Commission has selected two big-budget films – “Call of the Wild” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Untitled #9” — as recipients of the state’s production tax credit.

Tarantino’s film, which was nabbed by Sony, is getting an $18 million credit. Fox’s “Call of the Wild” is getting a $17 million credit.

Both titles will be shot in-state. They join other recently announced big-budget projects for California including “Captain Marvel,” “Island Plaza,” “Midway,” “Ad Astra,” “Bumblebee,” and “Wrinkle in Time.”

The commission noted Monday that such projects would have been ineligible for tax credits under the state’s first-generation Program 1.0, which was closed to films with budgets exceeding $75 million.

“Despite aggressive incentives worldwide, California is once again competing for big projects because we’re able to provide the best overall value,” said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch. “Films today can be shot just about anywhere, so it’s great to see so much production returning to the »


- Dave McNary

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Lizzy Caplan Joining Channing Tatum in ‘Gambit’ (Exclusive)

11 hours ago

Lizzy Caplan is in talks to join the cast of “Gambit,” Variety has learned. The “Masters of Sex” star will play the female lead in the superhero movie. Details of her part are being kept under wraps.

The X-Men spinoff stars Channing Tatum as Gambit, a ragin’ Cajun whose ability to control kinetic energy enables him to weaponize playing cards and other projectiles. He’s also pretty handy with a bō staff. In the comics, Gambit was a member of the Thieves Guild before joining the X-Men. “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski will slide behind the camera on the film. It’s eyeing a Feb. 14, 2019 debut. Fox is releasing the film as part of its continued expansion of the cinematic mutant universe.

Caplan is an Emmy nominee for “Masters of Sex,” the acclaimed Showtime drama about sex researchers that aired from 2013 to 2016. Her film credits include “Cloverfield,” “127 Hours,” “Now You See Me 2,” and “Allied »


- Brent Lang

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Michelle Yeoh to be Feted at Macau Festival

2 hours ago

Malaysian star actress Michelle Yeoh is to be the subject of the In Focus section at next month’s International Film Festival & Awards Macao. The festival (Dec. 8-14) also completed its line-up.

Yeoh, whose credits stretch from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,” will appear in an in-conversation session on Dec. 14. The festival will also screen her 2010 effort “Reign of Assassins,” directed by Su Chao-pin.

The festival added five films across its different sections and unveiled details of the Crossfire section, in which directors pick genre films which influenced them.

The festival added Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya,” Korean blockbuster “The Outlaws,” French smash hit “C’est La Vie!” (aka “Le Sens De La Fete”) from Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano; and Macau film maker Lorence Chan’s “Passing Rain.” Iffam jury president Laurent Cantet will introduce a special presentation of his latest film “The Workshop” (“L’Atelier”), which »


- Patrick Frater

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Film News Roundup: Alexandra Shipp in Talks for ‘Shaft’ Sequel

5 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Alexandra Shipp is in talks to join the “Shaft” sequel, the Palm Springs Film Festival honors Gary Oldman and Norm Newberry gets an Art Directors Guild award.

Casting

Alexandra Shipp is in negotiations to star in New Line’s “Shaft” sequel opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie T. Usher as father and son.

Tim Story is directing from a script by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow. Jackson is reprising the role he played in the 2000 “Shaft” reboot of the original 1971 blaxploitation film, starring Richard Roundtree.

Usher portrays an FBI agent and a cyber expert, and the partnership with his father is an uneasy collision of old school meets new school. Producers are John Davis and Barris. New Line will have North American rights and Netflix will have international rights.

Production is due to commence in December. Shipp’s credits include “Straight Outta Compton” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” and she stars in the »


- Dave McNary

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‘Cries From Syria,’ ‘Jane’ Among Producers Guild of America’s Feature Documentary Nominees

5 hours ago

The Producers Guild of America has nominated seven films for its top documentary award — “Chasing Coral,” “City of Ghosts,” “Cries From Syria,” “Earth: One Amazing Day,” “Jane,” “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” and “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee.”

The winner will be named Jan. 20 at the 29th annual Producers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The PGA is a trade group with more than 8,100 members. The organization has not yet determined the producers of the nominated films.

Nominations in the other film and TV categories will be announced Jan. 5. “O.J.: Made in America” won the PGA’s documentary award this year for Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow, then went on to win the Academy Award.

Chasing Coral” explores the disappearance of coral reefs and is directed by Jeff Orlowski. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Neflix in July.

City of Ghosts” centers on the Syrian media activist group Raqqa »


- Dave McNary

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Ex-Relativity Executive Adam Fields Accused of Sexual Harassment

5 hours ago

Hollywood executive and producer Adam Fields has been accused of sexually harassing several women while he was working at Relativity Media from 2010 to 2016.

Through his attorney, Fields has denied the allegations and asserted that the accusations have surfaced as a result of a legal battle between Fields and Relativity Media. Fields was fired in September 2016 from his post as co-president of production at Relativity for alleged breach of contract.

Three women told the Hollywood Reporter that Fields allegedly touched them inappropriately, sexually propositioned them and subjected them to lewd behavior. Screenwriter-producer Leslie Dixon accused Fields of unsolicited touching and making a comment about a sex toy while on the set of “Limitless” in 2010.

Former Relatively executive Melissa Philipian accused Fields of promising a promotion if she had sex with him, which she refused to do. An unnamed attorney for Relativity also alleged that Fields made unwanted physical contact with her, adding, “It was »


- Dave McNary

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China Box Office Passes $7.5 Billion Landmark

6 hours ago

Theatrical box office in China passed the symbolic landmark of RMB50 billion on Monday, government sources announced. At existing exchange rates, that is an all-time record of some $7.55 billion.

The figures, issued by the National Film Ticketing Integrated Information Management System, show that the recent resurgence in Chinese cinema-going is continuing. Admissions totaled 1.45 billion to Monday.

The figures already exceed 2016’s full-year total of RMB45.5 billion and point to an annualized growth rate of 15%. That is down from the spectacular 49% gain in 2015, and an improvement on the shock slowdown of 2016, when revenues increased by only 4%. Prior to the restructuring of the film industry in 2001-2, China’s box office was less than RMB1 billion.

The data shows Chinese films enjoying a 52% market share. Some 78 films enjoyed gross revenues over RMB100 million ($15 million). This year’s gross data has not been adjusted to exclude the fees levied by online ticketing agencies.

Top film of »


- Patrick Frater

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New York Women in Film & Television to Honor Laura Dern, Judith Light, Others at Muse Awards

7 hours ago

New York Women in Film & Television (Nywift), which focuses on gender equality in the New York entertainment industry, will celebrate its 40th anniversary by honoring six leading women in entertainment at the 38th Annual Muse Awards on Dec. 14 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

The gala, emceed by Nancy Giles, will honor women who have made strides in film, television, and digital media. The honorees for this year’s Muse Awards are actress and producer Laura Dern, Refinery 29’s Chief Content Officer Amy Emmerich, and Tony-winning actress Judith Light. Regina K. Scully, founder and CEO of Artemis Rising Foundation and a social justice filmmaker, will receive the 12th Annual Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award, which is given to an individual, organization, or corporation in entertainment that has helped to create and bring about significant change to benefit and aid women.

The event will also feature the debut of two new awards: the Nancy Malone Directing Award and an »


- Matt Fernandez

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Fox Developing ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Sequel ‘Death on the Nile’

7 hours ago

Twentieth Century Fox Film is working on a follow-up to “Murder on the Orient Express,” developing Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile.”

The studio has hired “Orient Express” screenwriter Michael Green to return for “Death on the Nile.” It has not yet signed a deal with Kenneth Branagh, but he is expected to return to the director’s chair and reprise his role of the mustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Murder on the Orient Express” has performed solidly at box office with $50 million domestically and another $100 million internationally. In addition to Branagh, producers were Ridley ScottMark GordonSimon Kinberg, Judy Hofflund, and Michael Schaefer. Executive producers were James Prichard and Hilary Strong of Agatha Christie Ltd. along with Aditya Sood and Matthew Jenkins.

Christie first published “Death on the Nile” in 1937, three years after her “Murder on the Orient Express” was published. The plot places Poirot on a vacation in Egypt, discovering a murder »


- Dave McNary

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Variety Announces 10 Screenwriters to Watch of 2017

8 hours ago

The Whistler Film Festival in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada will host Variety‘s 10 Screenwriters to Watch for the sixth year in a row.

The 10 Screenwriters to Watch of 2017, announced Monday, are:

Liz Hannah, “The Post

Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, “Chappaquiddick

Hallie Meyers-Shyer, “Home Again

Maggie Betts, “Novitiate

Tracy Oliver, “Girls Trip” »


- Matt Fernandez

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Relativity School Changes Name to Studio School Los Angeles

10 hours ago

Three-year-old Relativity School, one of the remaining vestiges of Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media operations, has changed its name to Studio School, Los Angeles.

The four-year entertainment-focused college, based at La Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles, made the announcement Monday. The school said that the name change is intended to more accurately reflect the breadth and depth of programs offered by the school.

Relativity School welcomed its inaugural class in October, 2014, with its parent company touting the school at the time as its educational arm and the first-ever accredited Bfa program affiliated with a studio. Relativity was interested in creating a learning environment for the next generation of content entrepreneurs and entertainment professionals and joined with director Glenn Kalison, Hussian College, and other sponsors to create a school dedicated to this mission.

Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and has mostly suspended operations since then.

The school announced Monday that it will graduate its inaugural »


- Dave McNary

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Dynamo and Spiral Co-Producing ‘Falco,’ Re-versioning Germany’s ‘The Last Cop’

11 hours ago

German high-concept crime series “The Last Cop” (“Der Letzte Bulle”) is getting a Spanish-language version. Re-titled “Falco,” the new series kicked off principal photography in Mexico on Monday, Nov 20. Mexican helmer-scribe Ernesto Contreras, renowned for his Sundance Film Fest award-winning films “I Dream in Another Language” and “Blue Eyelids,” will direct and showrun the series.

Red Arrow Int’l, a ProSiebenSat 1Media company, licensed the remake rights to Latin American powerhouse shingle Dynamo and Miami-based content distribution company, Spiral Int’l.

“Falco” begins in the year 1994 where Detective Alex Falco, happily married with a newborn child, is shot in the head while out in the field. He ends up in a coma only to regain consciousness in 2018, opening his eyes to a vastly unfamiliar world.

Red Arrow International has sold the scripted format of “The Last Cop” around the world. Winner of Best Scripted Format at the 2017 International Format Awards at MipTV, the series »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Rules Social Media Buzz Ahead of Premiere

12 hours ago

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” dominated social media again last week with 185,000 new conversations as anticipation grows for the ninth film in the franchise, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has pulled in more than 3.97 million new conversations four weeks before its Dec. 15 launch. Directed by Rian Johnson, the movie picks up where 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis.

New cast members include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. It’s the final film role for Fisher, who died last December.

Disney-Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2” generated 80,000 new conversations last week following the Nov. 18 release of its first teaser trailer. The animated comedy is the sequel to the 2004 original with Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, and [link=nm »


- Dave McNary

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Nick Nolte Reflects on What Acting’s Meant for Him Ahead of Walk of Fame Honor

14 hours ago

Nick Nolte lives in a treehouse in Malibu. It’s an actual house. In a tree. A tree runs through the bedroom. He built it on the property he owns, a rustic 2.5-acre lot on which there are several small houses and an organic fruit and vegetable garden and dogs and cats running around. And every morning the first thing Nolte does when he wakes up is reach out and put his hand on the tree. And he feels the tree’s pulse. And he says to himself, “This is so cool. It’s alive.”

Nolte, who is receiving a star Nov. 20 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, bought the property, within faint earshot of the Pacific Ocean, about 40 years ago, 10 years after he moved to L.A. to become a star. The semi-remote location (Kevin Dillon is a neighbor) is something that Nolte relishes; the fresh smell of dirt and grass, the cool shade »


- Malina Saval

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Oscars: Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ Arrives With the Zeitgeist in Its Sights

14 hours ago

When producer Amy Pascal first acquired Liz Hannah’s spec script “The Post” she thought, “Hillary Clinton is going to win [the presidency], so this will be perfect,” the former Sony Pictures head said at the film’s first west coast screening on Sunday night. “It was the story of a woman finding her voice, and an entire country finding its voice.”

Last year’s election, of course, went in another direction, but it was still an important theme to explore, perhaps more important than ever.

Alongside members of the film’s cast and crew, Pascal was speaking to an audience of Academy, guild, and press members who filled Fox’s Darryl F. Zanuck Theater for a look at director Steven Spielberg’s latest effort, one of the awards season’s most anticipated releases. It also screened in New York on Sunday, with Spielberg and key players Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep among those in attendance.

The film, which »


- Kristopher Tapley

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‘Get Out,’ ‘Detroit,’ Issa Rae, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige Among Top NAACP Image Award Nominees

15 hours ago

Get Out,” “Girls Trip,” “Detroit” and “Mudbound” are among the top film nominees for the 49th annual NAACP Image Awards.

On the TV side, Netflix and OWN dominate the race with multiple noms for “Dear White People,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Queen Sugar” and “Greenleaf.”

In music, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z grabbed five nominations apiece. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay landed a nomination in the entertainer of the year category alongside Bruno Mars, Chadwick Boseman, Chance the Rapper, Issa Rae, and Jay-Z.

The motion picture nominations went to “Detroit,” “Get Out,” “Girls Trip,” “Marshall,” and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” “Detroit” also landed a slot in the indie film category alongside “Last Flag Flying,” “Mudbound,” “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” and “Wind River.”

Greenleaf” and “Queen Sugar” are nommed for drama series, vying with Starz’s “Power,” NBC’s “This Is Us,” and WGN’s now-canceled “Underground.” The bids for best comedy series went to HBO’s “Ballers,” ABC’s “Black-ish,” “Dear White People,” HBO’s “Insecure,” and Starz’s “Survivor’s Remorse.”

“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson is set to host the Jan. 15 ceremony, to air live on TV One. »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Box Office: ‘Justice League’ Comes Up Short With $94 Million U.S. Debut

15 hours ago

Warner Bros.-DC’s costly “Justice League” misfired with a $94 million opening weekend at the North American box office — $2 million short of the studio’s estimates on Sunday.

The final result caps a disappointing domestic debut that fell far short of expectations, which had been at $110 million before “Justice League” opened on Friday at 4,051 locations. “Justice League” wound up launching with only the eighth-largest opening of 2017 and ranks as the 56th-biggest domestic launch of all time behind 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said Sunday there were several positive signs such as a 28% hike in business from Friday to Saturday and the start of Thanksgiving vacations this week. Stakes are particularly high for Warner Bros., which hasn’t revealed the cost of “Justice League” — estimated to be as much as $300 million.

The movie is the fifth installment of its DC Extended Universe, aimed at duplicating »


- Dave McNary

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German Director Fatih Akin Looks to Hometown Serial Killer for Next Film

15 hours ago

Director Fatih Akin, whose terrorist-attack film “In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger, was selected as Germany’s Oscar submission, will turn next to a drama inspired by a serial killer from his hometown.

Akin is adapting Heinz Strunk’s bestselling 2016 novel “Der goldene Handschuh” (“The Golden Glove”), which chronicles the true story of Fritz Honka, a physically and psychologically scarred serial killer who murdered four women in Hamburg’s red light district between 1970 and 1975. Honka picked up his victims at the notorious bar Zum Goldenen Handschuh, where he was a regular.

The project holds particular interest for Akin, who was born in Hamburg in 1973. “The film is based on a novel from my hometown,” he said. “It takes place in my neighborhood in the ’70s. The serial killer just lived, like, two streets away from me.

“It’s a slasher film,” Fatih said, but also “a portrayal of the generation that witnessed the Second World War, that »


- Ed Meza

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MipCancun: 15 Takes on 2017’s Edition

17 hours ago

Cancun, Mexico — The 4th MipCancun unspooled Nov. 15-17 in the Sunrise quarter of a beachside hotel. That name could stand metaphor for the Latin America’s independent TV production sector at large and for MipCancun itself, as attendance soared to over 700 delegates, boosted by a co-production strand which looks like representing much of the meeting’s future. 15 points on this year’s meet, which caught the industry on a dramatic upturn.

1.Viva La Revolucion, And Yes, It’S Quite A Revolucion

MipCancun’s defining energy, playing out in multiple iterations and sweeping MipCancun, was Hollywood – studios, big and boutique indies – and Latin America’s top TV players – broadcasters, producers – thrashing out the co-production, co-financing and distribution, here by the former, of ambitious TV dramas, rooted in Latin American realities but made for the world. Just two-or-three examples: “Narcos” producer Gaumont TV started “at the beginning of the year” to become co-producers and partners of series from Latin »


- John Hopewell

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Hub and Assembly Line set Fund for China-u.S. Co-Productions (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

Shanghai-based production and finance company, Hub Film has set up a film fund to invest in U.S.-Chinese co-productions. Assembly Line Entertainment is its U.S. partner.

The pair aim to put up a minimum of $3 million into each project, with that figure counting for 50-80% of budget. They aim to have boarded up to five co-productions by the end of next year, with content including movies, web series and other episodic TV.

“The goal of the Hub/Assembly Line partnership is to become a part of the burgeoning U.S.-Chinese production industry, by acquiring new content (finding) partners and together, putting development projects into production,” the companies said in a statement.

Hub Film is part of the larger Hub Group, which straddles film, finance and property development. It recently opened the Fengxian Film Center in central Shanghai. The 23,000 square meter complex spans production, post-production, equipment rentals, and distribution facilities. The center »


- Patrick Frater

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