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Box Office: Fathom Events Sees Soaring 2017 Performance (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Amid an overall slump in domestic moviegoing, Fathom Events has seen a surge this year in box office for its live events and one-night showings for theatrical chains.

The company, which is co-owned by AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings and Regal Entertainment Group, has topped the $1 million mark with 27 different events in 2017. That’s nearly double its 2016 mark of 14 events with more than $1 million.

Six events topped the $2 million mark, led by a Feb. 16 showing of “Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical” with $4.7 million and followed by faith-based documentaries “Is Genesis History” with $2.7 million and “In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem” with $2.5 million, “Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You!” with $2.4 million, the Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match with $2.4 million, and “Jeepers Creepers 3″ with $2.2 million.

“This year has seen tremendous growth for Fathom and event cinema, proving that consumers want a true event experience in their movie theater,” said Ray Nutt, chief executive officer. »


- Dave McNary

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Gus Van Sant’s ‘Don’t Worry’ Among First Berlinale Competition Titles to Be Unveiled

5 hours ago

Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is among the first several competition titles to be unveiled for the 2018 Berlin Film Festival. The other titles announced Monday are all European productions or co-productions.

The Berlinale previously announced that Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” would open the fest.

Alex German Jr.’s “Dovlatov,” Benoit Jacquot’s “Eva,” and Laura Bispuri’s “Figlia Me” (“Daughter of Mine”) all feature in the competition, as do Thomas Stuber’s “In den Gangen,” Philip Goning’s “Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot,” and Małgorzata Szumowska’s “Twarz” (“Mug”).

“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is based on the John Callahan memoir of the same title and stars Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black and Udo Kier. Berlin will mark its international premiere. All  the other competition titles announced Monday will have their world premieres at the »


- Stewart Clarke

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Even Without ‘BPM,’ the Academy Compiles a Rich, Diverse Foreign Oscar Shortlist

2 hours ago

It’s now an Oscar-season tradition as time-honored and near-annual as nomination buzz for Meryl Streep: the critical outcry that greets the pre-Christmas announcement of the nine-film shortlist for best foreign language film. Almost every year, at least one hotly fancied favorite for the award is left off the list, overriding the ecstatic reviews, festival hype and precursor honors that — in the eyes of Oscar pundits, at least — appeared to guarantee it a place.

Since the pre-nomination shortlist was instated in 2006, shock omissions have included “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” “Gomorrah,” “Of Gods and Men,” “Le Havre,” “Gloria” and “Two Days, One Night.” last year, France’s much-touted “Elle” failed to make the grade, despite later earning a best actress nod for Isabelle Huppert.

The French have hit an unlucky streak, it seems. Once again, the media conversation surrounding last week’s shortlist announcement centered on the absence of the Gallic submission, as Robin Campillo’s “Bpm (Beats Per Minute)” was left out. »


- Guy Lodge

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‘Mortal Engines’ to Receive 5% Bonus From New Zealand (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Universal Pictures’ “Mortal Engines” is to be given a 5% financial bonus by the New Zealand government.

The move, known as an uplift, is a discretionary grant, made only when a production can demonstrate significant and lasting economic benefit for the New Zealand industry. “Mortal Engines,” directed by local director Christian Rivers, was entirely shot in the country. Producers include Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker, Deborah Forte, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson.

The “Mortal Engines” story takes place thousands of years after civilization was destroyed and in their place gigantic moving cities roam the earth. It features Robert Sheehan and Hera Hilmar as two opposites who form an unlikely alliance.

The decision to give the film a 5% uplift follows the signing of a contract between the New Zealand Film Commission (Nzfc), Education New Zealand (Enz) and film producers and financiers Universal Pictures, Mrc and Hungry City. It entails a detailed marketing partnership with Nzfc and Enz to promote New Zealand »


- Patrick Frater

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Alamo Drafthouse Launching Video Rental Store in 2018 (Exclusive)

57 minutes ago

The Alamo Drafthouse chain is taking a step into the past by launching Video Vortex, a reimagining of classic video rental stores, at its upcoming 11-screen location in Raleigh, N.C.

The company, now in its 20th year with 29 locations in operation, is touting Video Vortex as one of the largest video archives on the planet. The North Carolina location will open in the first quarter of next year. Visitors can return rentals on their next trip to the location or mail DVDs and Blu-rays back to the shop with a return envelope.

Along with Blu-ray and DVD titles, Video Vortex will contain a “massive” rental selection of rare VHS tapes, including titles never released on digital formats. The store will also rent VCRs as well as provide renters with the equipment for RCA adapters free of charge. The space will also feature a selection of curated Blu-rays for sale, film-related merchandise, »


- Dave McNary

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Italian Moviegoers Shrug Off Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Director Fausto Brizzi

1 hour ago

Rome – Sexual harassment allegations against Italian director Fausto Brizzi do not appear to have had a negative impact on the box office performance of his Christmas comedy “Poveri ma Ricchissimi.” The movie has opened at No. 3 on the Italian box-office chart via Warner Bros. in a country that seems largely unaffected by the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Brizzi was accused last month of sexual misconduct by several Italian actresses on investigative TV show “Le Iene,” allegations that made a splash in the Italian media. Brizzi has vehemently denied having non-consensual sex, but said in a statement following the allegations that he was suspending all work and business activities. No legal charges against him have been reported.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia removed the hit-making helmer from all promotional material and activity for the “Poveri ma Ricchissimi” but decided to forge ahead with its planned wide release last Thursday.

The hotly anticipated film, which is a sequel, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Amblin Partners Inks Exclusive Music-Publishing Deal With BMG

4 hours ago

Amblin Partners has signed an exclusive deal with BMG to administer its music publishing rights worldwide.

Recent films under the Amblin Partners umbrella include “Bridge of Spies” (pictured), “The Girl on the Train,” “Office Christmas Party” and “A Dog’s Purpose” as well as the upcoming Steven Spielberg-directed project “The Post.” Current productions from Amblin Television include “The Americans” on FX and “Bull” with CBS, with “Reverie” (NBC) and “The Haunting of Hill House” (Netflix) on the way. The deal includes scores, transition cues, themes, and feature songs.

BMG Svp and general counsel Keith Hauprich said: “We are proud to partner with the Amblin team as BMG continues to grow in the arena of Film and TV. Mr. Spielberg and his handpicked team are a national treasure, continually bringing timeless stories to the silver screen.” Chris Floyd, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel said, “We are delighted to begin this new relationship with BMG, and couldn »


- Variety Staff

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Japan Box Office: ‘The Last Jedi’ Opens Big Ahead of ‘Yokai Watch’

6 hours ago

Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” topped the Japanese box office for the Dec. 16-17 weekend. Released on Dec. 15 on 937 screens, in 377 complexes, the film earned $9.9 million on 737,000 admissions. The film’s four-day cumulative total, including sneaks on Dec. 14, was $14 million on 1.06 million admissions. This opening was some 10% less than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which finished its Japan run with $103 million in 2016.

Debuting in second was “Yo-kai Watch Shadowside the Movie: Resurrection of the Demon King,” a follow-up to a 2016 film about a boy able to control the monsters from Japanese folklore with a magical watch, with the action set 30 years in the future. It is the fourth feature in the “Yo-kai Watch” franchise. Released on 366 screens by Toho, the film made $3.5 million and is expected to finish near the $25 million mark.

Bowing in third place was Takahisa Zeze’s “The 8-Year Engagement,” a drama about a woman who falls into a coma just before »


- Mark Schilling

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South Australia Uncaps Post-Production Rebate Scheme

12 hours ago

The state of South Australia is to expand its existing rebate scheme for post-production, digital and visual effects. The move is intended to attract more large-budget and international productions.

The new Post Production, Digital and Visual Effects Rebate comes into effect from Jan. 1, 2018, and will see companies receive a rebate of 10% of their South Australian expenditure. The current scheme is a grant capped that at $115,000 (A$150,000).

The scheme is intended to mirror and complement the Australian federal government’s Pdv offset of 30%. That means South Australian post-production and effects companies, such as Adelaide Studios, Rising Sun Pictures and Kojo, can now offer international films a combined 40% rebate on spend in the state.

“The Pdv rebate is not limited by funding, increasing the scope and diversity of productions who are able to bring their post to South Australia. The rebate is uncapped, automatic and non-discretionary for productions that meet the guidelines,” the South Australian Film Corp. »


- Patrick Frater

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Korea’s Gang Dong-won to Star in Simon West’s ‘Tsunami La’

16 hours ago

Top Korean actor, Gang Dong-won will star in “Tsunami La,” a disaster action movie to be directed by Simon West (“Tomb Raider,” “Con Air”).

The film, featuring a massive tidal wave that hits Los Angeles, is to be produced on a budget of $55 million through Hannibal Classics and Foresight Unlimited. It is now in pre-production in the U.K. and will begin lensing in March, 2018. Release is set for 2019. Hannibal Classics and Foresight handle international sales.

Production is by Richard Rionda Del Castro (“USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” “Rage”), Moshe Diamant (“The Black Dahlia”), Michael Tadross, Jr. (“Gangster Squad”) and Mark Damon (“Lone Survivor”).

Gang starred in two of Korea’s top-grossing films of 2016: “Violent Prosecutor” and “Master” as well as 2015 hit “The Priests.” His acting awards include the Star of Asia prize at New York Asian Film Festival for his role in “Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned.”

“I found the »


- Sonia Kil

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Korea Box Office: ‘Steel Rain’ Defeats ‘Star Wars’ to Dominate Weekend

16 hours ago

Korean action thriller, “Steel Rain” opened on top of the South Korean box office. It comfortably beat global blockbuster “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

“Steel Rain” is directed by “The Attorney” director Yang Woo-suk. It focuses on the nuclear threats after a coup in North Korea forces its leader and his elite guard to come South.

The film was released on Thursday by Next Entertainment World release and earned $12.1 million from 1.63 million admissions over four days. As a measure of its success, the film accounted for 55% of total weekend box office.

Opening on the same day, “Star Wars” debuted in second and earned $5.17 million between Thursday and Sunday. That is lower than the opening four-day score of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which was $8.62 million in 2015.

Korean animation “Pororo Dinosaur Island Adventure” earned $1.26 million between Friday and Sunday in third place, for a total of $3.89 million after two weekends. Japanese animation, “Witch’s Flower »


- Sonia Kil

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Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam’s On Kids & Family

17 hours ago

Mediawan, a special-purpose acquisition company headed by media industry veterans Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton, is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam’s On Kids & Family.

Under the deal, which is estimated in the €100 million ($117.4 million) range, Mediawan would inject €15 million in equity capital into On Kids & Family, France’s No. 1 producer of animated series and one of Europe’s leading producers of big-budget independent animated features.

The indie banner has a track record in producing franchise-based films and series, notably Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince,” the Cesar- and BAFTA-winning feature which was released in more than 120 countries and grossed $120 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing French-made animated film overseas. On Kids & Family’s “Playmobil” movie, budgeted at $80 million, is being directed by Lino Di Salvo (“Frozen,” “Raiponce”) and will be released in April 2019.

Mediawan would own 51% to 54% of On Kids & Family. Soumache, who is »


- Elsa Keslassy

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China Box Office: Local Titles ‘Youth’ and ‘Dunjia’ Dominate Weekend

18 hours ago

A two-and-a-half-month delay did not harm the release of Feng Xiaogang’s “Youth.” It opened on top of the Chinese box office with a strong $43.2 million first weekend.

In second place was Yuen Woo-ping’s “Thousand Faces of Dunjia,” which opened a day earlier on Thursday. The fantasy actioner earned $27.3 million over three days and $31.3 million over four days.

“Youth,” which takes a nostalgic look at China through the focus on a military entertainment troupe, had been scheduled to open in the Oct. 1 holiday slot, following a premiere at the Toronto festival. But a late and unexplained government intervention – widely thought to have been related to sensitivities about the National Party Congress taking place later in October – meant that its release was abruptly canceled.

The rescheduling, however, had the effect of propelling the film’s outing from a holiday season to another peak period. December is usually the busiest or second-busiest period in Chinese theaters, and the latter »


- Patrick Frater

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