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Box Office: ‘Baywatch’ Dives in With $1.25 Million on Wednesday

1 hour ago

Baywatch” got a head start on the competition by opening in previews on Wednesday, before it goes wide early on Thursday ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.

After its first night of earnings Paramount’s comedy made $1.25 million at 2,554 locations. Previews began at 7 p.m.

For its opening weekend, “Baywatch” is pegged at about $40 million from an eventual 3,647 locations. The summer comedy carries a $60 million production price tag.

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Film Review: ‘Baywatch

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron star in the comedy that spawned from the 1990s NBC drama starring David Hasselhoff and a team of lifeguards who patrolled the beaches of Los Angeles. This time around it’s Johnson, an experienced and devoted lifeguard, who butts heads with a new recruit, Efron, until they uncover a criminal plot.

Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera also star. Seth Gordon directed the film based on a screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. »


- Seth Kelley

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Cannes: Fatih Akin’s Drama ‘In the Fade’ Sold Worldwide by The Match Factory (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Fatih Akin’s highly-anticipated drama “In The Fade (Aus dem Nichts)” which is having its world premiere in competition on Thursday, has been sold worldwide by The Match Factory.

A timely film, “In The Fade” stars Diane Kruger (“Inglorious Basterds”) as a woman whose life falls apart when her husband Nuri and little son Rocco are killed in a bomb attack perpetrated by a neo-Nazi group. Unable to cope with the grief and feeling of injustice, she sets off to avenge her family by her own means.

“In The Fade” was picked up U.K. & Eire (Curzon Artificial Eye), Japan (Bitters End), Italy (Bim), Netherlands (Cineart), Spain (Golem), Portugal (Midas), Greece (Rosebud.21), Former Yuguslavia (McF Megacom), Hungary (Cirko Film), Poland (Gutek Film), Czech/Slovakia (Aerofilms), Bulgaria (Artfest), and Turkey (Fabula).

More deals were inked for Argetina (Mirada), Brazil (Imovision), Central America (Wiesner), Mexico (Cine Video y TV), Colombia (Cine Colombia »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Sony Classics Buys Liam Neeson’s Watergate Drama ‘Silent Man’

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Sony Pictures Classics has bought North American rights to Watergate era drama “The Silent Man,” starring Liam Neeson as FBI official Mark Felt.

Felt revealed himself in 2005 as Deep Throat, the nickname given to him by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they uncovered the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Felt died in 2008.

The Silent Man” also stars Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Josh Lucas, Tony Goldwyn, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ike Barinholtz, Bruce Greenwood, Brian D’Arcy James, Kate Walsh, and Noah Wyle. “Concussion” director Peter Landesman directed “The Silent Man” from his own script.

The Silent Man” has been set for a September release with Sony Classics referring to “recent political turmoil” as sparking a renewed public interest in Felt’s story.

That’s a reference to President Donald Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director James »


- Dave McNary

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IFC Nabs U.S. Rights to Lars Von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’

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IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to Lars Von Trier’s anticipated thriller “The House That Jack Built” which toplines Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman.

Repped by TrustNordisk, “The House That Jack Built” also stars Bruno Ganz, Riley Keough and Siobhan Fallon Hogan.

The movie is being produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa Group, in co-production with Film i Väst, Copenhagen Film Fund, Slot Machine.

IFC Films previously handled Von Trier’s “Antichrist” which world premiered at Cannes in 2009.

Set in the 1970s, the film centers on a serial killer, Jack, whose psychopathy is explored through five incidents told through his own eyes. He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world.

Lars von Trier is an unparalleled cinematic provocateur and one of the world’s great auteurs. It’s great to be working with old friends and colleagues such as Lars, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cannes Film Review: ‘West of the Jordan River’

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In “West of the Jordan River,” controversial Israeli director Amos Gitai returns to the occupied territories for the first time since his 1982 “Field Diary” to observe how Israelis and Palestinians could together overcome the consequences of occupation. By appearing on-camera at times himself, the 66-year-old helmer delivers not only a thought-provoking, moving and surprisingly optimistic documentary, but an intimate, handmade artifact that can look forward to wide exposure on the festival circuit ahead.

Gitai’s four-decade carrier started during the 1973 Yom Kippur War when he shot 8mm footage of the fighting while serving in a helicopter rescue crew. Since then, he has never stopped publicly questioning his country’s politics: His first feature, “Home,” was censored in Israel, while “Field Diary,” the filmed journal he shot in the occupied territories before and during the invasion of Lebanon, stirred things up to such a degree that he moved to France for a stretch. »


- Pamela Pianezza

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Amazon Acquires Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Logan Lucky’ First-Run Streaming Rights

2 hours ago

Amazon has clinched a pact with Steven Soderbergh making his forthcoming film “Logan Lucky” to Prime Video customers during its exclusive first-run Us streaming window.

The heist comedy is slated to hit theaters Aug. 18, 2017, and Amazon expects to release “Logan Lucky” on Prime Video during the first quarter of 2018. The film stars Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, and Daniel Craig.

In addition, Amazon has signed an exclusive two-year first-look deal for theatrical film projects from Fingerprint Releasing, the film distributor formed by Soderbergh and piloted by Dan Fellman, former president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Under the deal, Amazon will provide strategic promotion and advertising financing to augment the marketing of Fingerprint’s theatrical releases.

Soderbergh, whose “Logan Lucky” marks his return to film after a four-year hiatus, called Amazon “a fearless, flexible co-conspirator.”

“The deal with Amazon is the final, crucial piece of the puzzle, »


- Todd Spangler

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Alive in France’

2 hours ago

Abel Ferrara, who is both the director and subject of “Alive in France,” deserves to be at the center of a documentary. He’s a filmmaker who has given us one extraordinary film — “Bad Lieutenant” (1992) — along with a few good ones (like his 1981 midnight movie “Ms. 45,” which first put the gun-toting badass heroine on screen) and a whole lot of squalidly semi-interesting and “dangerous” downtown art trash. Ferrara hasn’t had a hit, even a micro-indie cult hit, in decades. Yet there’s a reason that he’s been toiling away on his own debauched wavelength of devoted squalor for nearly 40 years. As an artist, he left the loop of influence long ago, but as an underground celebrity beatnik who drags his mystique around with him like a ratty ball and chain, he’s irreplaceable.

The first time I ever went to Rome, I was strolling, on my first day, »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Cannes: Medienboard Toasts Festival Films ‘Jupiter’s Moon,’ ‘Western’

2 hours ago

This week saw the Cannes Film Festival reception held by Medienboard, the film funding agency for the Berlin-Brandenburg region of Germany, at the Grand Hotel.

Medienboard chief Kirsten Niehuus gathered together friends and partners to celebrate the films it has backed recently, including Cannes festival films like Kornel Mundruczo’s competition entry “Jupiter’s Moon,” and Valeska Grisebach’s “Western,” which plays in Un Certain Regard.

Among the guests welcomed at the event were Mundruczo, Grisebach, veteran filmmaker Volker Schloendorff, actress Julie Delpy, “Jupiter’s Moon’s” producer Viktoria Petranyi, Stefan Arndt, one of the producers of Michael Haneke’s competition film “Happy End,” Martin Moszkowicz, producer of the “Resident Evil” franchise, and Tom Zickler, Til Schweiger’s regular production partner.

Other guests included actors Louis Hofmann, who appeared in Oscar-nominated “Land of Mine,” Stefan Konarske (“The Young Karl Marx”), Veronica Ferres, and Franz Rogowski, who appears in “Happy End »


- Leo Barraclough

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‘The Mummy,’ ‘Wonder Woman’ London Premieres Canceled Following Manchester Attack

2 hours ago

Universal has canceled the London premiere for “The Mummy” following the attack in Manchester earlier in the week.

The studio released a statement on Thursday morning, ahead of the premiere which had been scheduled to take place on June 1.

“All of us at Universal have been devastated by the terror attack in Manchester and continue to stand with the community and country as it recovers. Out of respect to those affected by this tragedy we have decided not to move forward with the London premiere for ‘The Mummy’ scheduled to take place next week,” Universal’s statement said.

Alex Kurtzman directed “The Mummy,” which stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella. The film is scheduled for release in the U.S. on June 9.

This announcement adds the film’s name to a list of movie events and shows that have been either delayed or canceled in the days following the attack that left 22 people dead. »


- Seth Kelley

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GLAAD Report: Major Film Studios Fail to Increase Lgbt Representation

3 hours ago

Major film studios broadly fell short last year of increasing the number of characters in their movies that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (Lgbtq), according to a new analysis issued Thursday by GLAAD.

Only 23 of the 125 films counted by the New York-based media advocacy group featured an Lgbtq character last year, accounting for less than 20 percent of films produced by the seven studios GLAAD rated in its report. The organization rates studios’ efforts as excellent, good, insufficient, poor, or failing.

No film studio has earned an “excellent” rating in the five years GLAAD has tracked Lgbtq representation. Universal Studios earned the highest mark, rating “insufficient” but it drew praise for films like “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” which featured an “unexpectedly well-handled subplot” involving a gay fraternity brother’s wedding engagement and how the pending nuptials strained his friendship with his former fraternity brother, Teddy, played by Zac Efron. »


- Ricardo Lopez

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Variety Introduces ‘Synch This!’ — New Music Column Spotlighting Songs Ripe for Licensing

3 hours ago

“Synch This” is a new Variety column written by Mac Presents VP and former Billboard branding reporter Andrew Hampp, highlighting new songs that we deem ripe for synch use. Insiders can skip over the “Synch 101” in the introduction, which will be linked to in future columns, to get straight to this week’s pick.

The term “synch” is a funny one – even if you’ve never heard it used before, it’s a convenient catch-all for something you hear every single day.

Short for “music synchronization license,” synchs have long been a prime method for music, new and old, to get discovered in TV commercials, box-office hits and the latest buzzy TV hit. So much so that synch revenue accounted for 2% of the recorded music industry’s global revenue in 2016, or roughly $314 million, an all-time high.

The first time I heard the term “synch” used it was in reference to »


- Andrew Hampp

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Russian Producer of Cannes Contender ‘Loveless’ on Kremlin Hostility, Patriotism, Piracy, Trump

3 hours ago

Alexander Rodnyansky, the producer of Russian drama “Loveless,” which is a frontrunner in Cannes competition, financed Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film without any funds from the Russian government. He tells Variety why he made the decision to use only private finance, prompted by the hostility shown by Vladimir Putin’s regime toward Zvyagintsev’s Oscar-nominated “Leviathan,” also produced by Rodnyansky. He also reveals that their next movie together may be in English and set in the Middle East.

“After the uproar that ‘Leviathan’ caused [in Russia] I made the decision not to apply [for government funding],” Rodnyansky says. “The Ministry of Culture took great pains to emphasize their dislike of ‘Leviathan,’ and the minister [Vladimir Medinsky] said he thought the film was criticizing Russia in a very brutal way and that he was not ready to accept that.”

Related

Cannes Film Review: ‘Loveless

Rodnyansky says that although none of Zvyagintsev’s previous films had been supported by government funds, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Cannes: Luxbox Sells France, China on Natalia Beristain’s ‘The Eternal Feminine’ (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Luxbox has clinched key territory sales at Cannes Film Market on Natalia Beristáin’s “The Eternal Feminine” (“Los adioses), a film charting the life of Rosario Castellanos, a feminist intellectual who was one of Mexico’s most important literary voices of the 20th century.

“The Eternal Feminine” has acquired by Kmbo in France and Lemon Tree in China.

Vladimir Kokh, the CEO of Kmbo, described the movie as “a moving and universal portrait of a strong woman that will reach the hearts of French audience.”

Kokh, who successfully released “Lady Macbeth” in France, said “The Eternal Feminine” sheds light on a writer and a destiny.

Meanwhile, Ning Hao, the head of international at Lemon Tree, said it was his company’s second collaboration with Luxbox, following Mohammed Ben Attia’s ‘Hedi” which won a prize at Berlin last year. He said the film was a “beautiful and heartbreaking portrait of a woman, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Robert Pattinson on Shedding His Movie Star Looks for Cannes Drama ‘Good Time’

5 hours ago

For years, Robert Pattinson has tried to make it clear that he doesn’t care about being labeled as a movie star. He’s followed the “Twilight” franchise with small indies where he’s played aggressively unlikable men, a trend that continued at the Cannes Film Festival with the Safdie brothers’ drama “Good Time.”

Pattinson portrays an aimless bank robber, who suffers through a series of unfortunate events that start with the arrest of his brother after a botched job. When Pattinson appears onscreen, he’s no heartthrob, as a lanky loser with tattoos, a goatee and a hunched posture.

“I always wanted to look like I’ve been street cast,” Pattinson at a press conference on Thursday morning.

Blending in turned out to be an occupational necessity on a project that filmed throughout Manhattan and Queens. “Because we were shooting guerrilla style, I was so nervous [about] people finding out »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Film Review: ’96 Souls’

6 hours ago

Although its opening scenes suggest a budget-challenged kickoff for a comic-book movie franchise, “96 Souls” turns out to be something even less engaging — a flavorless and fuzzy-headed melodrama about a scientist who accidentally develops the ability to read minds, and his attempts to aid a homeless musician who sounds like the African-American comic relief in some badly dated Hollywood farce from the ’40s. It’s hard not to wince whenever the latter character, played by Toyin Moses with far more spunk than the role deserves, asks the scientist about “Al Gore-isms” – algorithms, get it? — and when she defends her certainty by insisting “I knows in my bones.” But, really, Moses seems scarcely more cartoonish than her co-stars, all of whom have been encouraged by writer-director Stanley Jacobs to deliver their dialogue in the overemphatic fashion of a grade-school teacher imparting information to a class of slow-learners.

Grinnell Morris is the most »


- Joe Leydon

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Cannes Film Review: ‘A Gentle Creature’

6 hours ago

Sergei Loznitsa’s documentaries are conceived as silent commentary: His rigorously edited, coolly composed shots contain all the information needed for viewers to feel the weight of his argument. By contrast, his fiction films (“My Joy,” “In the Fog”) play with storytelling in a freewheeling way, combining narrative and cinematic audacity in scenes that shift from the sublime to the phantasmagoric.

After five years of canonical nonfiction from the director, it’s something of a shock to watch “A Gentle Creature,” a dense, nightmarish feature that takes aim at Russia’s befouled soul, in which a nameless woman tries to learn why the package she mailed to her prisoner husband was returned without explanation. Her hellish journey through a society stripped of humanity forms a challenging, at times darkly humorous and ultimately eviscerating vision of surrealistic nihilism that’s unmistakably Russian in style and bleakness: For Loznitsa, it’s too »


- Jay Weissberg

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Cannes: Alfonso Cuarón On Del Toro, ‘Chivo’ And Giving It All He’s Got

7 hours ago

In Cannes Wednesday. Alfonso Cuarón gave a Masterclass spanning his life and passions: Friendships and films, made in both Mexico and Hollywood.

As Cuarón gave the class, he said, proving humble throughout his interview with Michel Simon, that the “true masters” were elsewhere in the festival, hinting that he doesn’t count himself among them. He pointed out that his was “a journey filled with insecurities,” which he considers a catalyst for his friendship with fellow Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who Cuarón called a fellow “blue collar” filmmaker.

The two met making TV when del Toro complimented the Steven King story which Cuarón had based one of his pieces on, commenting that, “The story is so good, so why did your short suck so bad?” Although the words surprised Cuarón he says del Toro was right, and since then the two have been fast friends.

Born in a neighborhood »


- Jamie Lang

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Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson in ‘Good Time’

7 hours ago

Those already acquainted with the young oeuvre of Benny and Josh Safdie — the multitasking fraternal auteur duo with a joint eye to the social fringes of New York City — may see the title of their third narrative feature as a kind of perverse in-joke. “Good Time” is not the first term you’d use to describe “Daddy Longlegs” or “Heaven Knows What,” two sensitive but skin-prickling studies in human breakage; nor does it entirely apply to this nerve-raddling heist-within-a-heist thriller, which merges the Safdies’ signature gutter realism with tight genre mechanics to discomfiting but exhilarating effect.

A career-peak performance from Robert Pattinson, as a scuzzy Queens bank robber on a grimly spiraling mission to break his mentally handicapped brother out of jail, will attract more eyeballs to this A24 release than the rest of the Safdies’ oeuvre combined, though this “Good Time” is still no commercial picnic. Rather, it’s »


- Guy Lodge

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Cannes: Vis a Vis Program Showcases China’s Arrival in Global Cinema

8 hours ago

A tribute to cinematographer Chris Doyle on Friday night in Cannes will bring to a close the first edition of China Vis a Vis. A new Chinese cultural outreach program, it has run the duration of the Cannes Film Festival.

Doyle, an Australian former sailor who has been based in Hong Kong for decades and was the close collaborator of Wong Kar-wai on many films, is a clever choice for Vis a Vis. As well as being an iconic director of photography with credits that include Wong’s “In the Mood for Love” and Zhang Yimou’s “Hero,” Doyle is a gifted, idiosyncratic artist who also puts on art installations and photographic shows, and is an occasional movie director himself.

Doyle directed “Hong Kong Trilogy,” a film set within Occupy Central, the failed 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy movement which collapsed under pressure from the mainland Chinese government. But Vis a Vis organizers – ticketing firm Weying Technology, »


- Patrick Frater

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Frost’

9 hours ago

For a while the general consensus on Sharunas Bartas, founded mostly on regular international festival appearances, suggested that the Lithuanian filmmaker was more adept as a cameraman — his prior profession — than a storyteller. “Frost,” which debuts in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in Cannes, somewhat addresses that reputation, though not in the direction one would hope. Less an odyssey than a snowbound slog, “Frost” is not only severely hobbled by the almost complete absence of drama and characterization, but is also delivered in relentless, claustrophobic, tiresome medium-to-close shots that don’t even provide us with enough background information to lend the film a sense of place.

This is hugely detrimental, as it’s essentially a road movie designed to bring us into the heart of darkness that is the current conflict in Ukraine. But with the visual style remaining so uninspired, and the somnolent performances giving the story’s tepid romance no purchase, »


- Jessica Kiang

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