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Box Office: ‘Baby Driver’ Gets a $5.7 Million Head Start

1 hour ago

Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” has driven to a respectable $5.7 million at 3,226 North American locations on its first day on Wednesday.

Sony’s R-rated action-thriller, starring Ansel Elgort as a getaway car driver, has gotten a head start on the Independence Day weekend before “Despicable Me 3” and “The House” open on Friday. The studio is projecting an opening in the $15 million range for the five-day Wednesday-Sunday period, while other pre-release forecasts have been in the $20 million area.

The opening day number includes $2.1 million from Tuesday night previews.The film received an A CinemaScore from audiences under 25 and an A- overall.

Baby Driver,” released from Sony’s TriStar Pictures and Mrc, has received strong critical support since its South by Southwest premiere in March and has a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In a sign of confidence, Sony announced at CinemaCon in March that it had moved the release up by six weeks from Aug. 11 with »

- Dave McNary

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‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’: Watch Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in First Trailer

2 hours ago

Jumanji is back.

The first trailer for the upcoming sequel “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” debuted on Thursday, showing stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in action.

The movie follows four high schoolers who discover an old video game and get sucked into its jungle setting. They take on the avatars of Johnson, Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, and must play against type (the meek Spencer becomes Johnson’s muscle-bound explorer Dr. Smolder Bravestone, while it-girl Bethany becomes Black’s Professor Shelly Oberon) to escape the jungle and return to the real world — before they’re stuck in the game forever.

The trailer shows each character getting acquainted with their new bodies. “Why am I wearing half a shirt and short shorts in the jungle?” Gillan asks. Black looks at his reflection and shrieks, “I’m an overweight middle-aged man.”

The original “Jumanji,” starring the late Robin Williams, did big business for Sony’s TriStar Pictures in »

- Alex Stedman

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Film Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

3 hours ago

Midway through “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” there’s a sequence that revs the picture up in that buzzy spectacular “Hey, I’m watching a Marvel movie!” way. Peter Parker (Tom Holland), a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Queens, is in Washington, D.C., along with a team of his fellow student brainiacs, to attend the finals of the Academic Decathlon. They’re up in the Washington Monument when a volatile alien weapon explodes, causing a crack along the top of the building’s pointy pillar and trapping the students inside the elevator.

It’s up to Peter to save them, though as Spider-Man he’s still figuring out what the heck he’s doing. In his red-and-blue spandex costume, now layered with computer intelligence and a Siri voice, he shimmies up the monument, a vertical crawl shot at dizzying angles (as in, straight down). He blasts some sticky web here and there and tries to kick his way through »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Ascap Film Scoring Workshop Announces Composers-In-Residence

3 hours ago

The 29th edition of the Ascap Film Scoring Workshop has announced the 12 composer participants selected for the comprehensive 4-week program led by Emmy winner Richard Bellis.

Produced by Ascap Film and TV membership executives Michael Todd and Jennifer Harmon, the dozen to take part in the program were selected from more than 300 applicants and represent such countries as France, Austria, Spain, and Japan.


Ascap Screen and Pop Music Awards (Photos)

The workshop culminates in a recording of an original score at the Newman Scoring Stage at Fox Studios. Previous graduates of the program, which has also featured Henry Mancini, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, and Brian Tyler, include Jim Dooley (TNT’s “Last Ship,” ABC’s “Pushing Daisies”), Rob Duncan (NBC’s “Timeless,” ABC’s “Castle”), and Mateo Messina (“Juno,” Hulu’s “Casual”); among many others.

Ascap, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, represents 600,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, and »

- Variety Staff

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Olivier Assayas to Preside Over Jury of Locarno Film Festival’s 70th Edition

5 hours ago

Paris – Olivier Assayas, the French director/screenwriter of “Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” will preside over the international jury of the 70th edition of Locarno Film Festival.

One of Europe’s most critically acclaimed auteurs, Assayas won Cannes’ director prize last year for “Personal Shopper,” a supernatural drama with Kristen Stewart. “Clouds of Sils Maria” also competed at Cannes and earned Stewart a Cesar for best actress. Most recently, Assayas penned the script of Roman Polanski’s “Based on a True Story” which played out of competition at this year’s Cannes.

“As an auteur for whom formal research is tied to narrative requirements, Assayas has proved adept at always bringing out the talent of his cast,” the Locarno festival said, citing the “remarkable female roles played by actresses such as Emmanuelle Béart, Maggie Cheung, Virginie Ledoyen, Connie Nielsen and Kristen Stewart.”

Assayas’ international jury will select the winner of the festival’s Grand Prize »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Platinos to Bestow Lifetime Achievement Award to Edward James Olmos

7 hours ago

Film and TV star Edward James Olmos, whose breakout role in hit TV show “Miami Vice” led to a series of prominent roles in such shows as “Hill Street Blues,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Dexter,” will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 4th Platino Ibero-American Film Awards, which are slated for July 22 in Madrid.

Olmos is also renowned for his pivotal big screen role in the original 1982 “Blade Runner” as well as for his Oscar-nominated perf in schoolroom drama “Stand and Deliver.” He stars in the upcoming “Blade Runner” sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” alongside Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas, and the remake of another sci-fi classic “The Predator,” directed by Shane Black. He also lends his voice to one of the characters in Pixar’s upcoming tribute to Mexican culture “Coco.”

Born in the U.S., but of Mexican descent, Olmos’ role as Lieutenant Castillo in “Miami Vice” earned him a Golden Globe »

- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Andy Serkis’ ‘Breathe’ to Open London Film Festival

7 hours ago

Love story “Breathe,” Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, is set to open the BFI London Film Festival with its European premiere.

The “Lord of the Rings” actor’s production company The Imaginarium made the movie, which is based on the story of Imaginarium co-founder Jonathan Cavendish’s parents. It follows Robin Cavendish, played by Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”), and the attempts by his wife Diana, Claire Foy (“The Crown”), to help him lead a normal life after he is paralyzed by polio.

Both stars, Serkis, and Jonathan Cavendish will be at the premiere at London’s Odeon Leicester Square on Oct. 4, and the film will play simultaneously in cinemas across the U.K. ahead of its Oct. 27 general release in the country by Stx International. Bleecker Street and Participant Media  are distributing in the U.S., and it has already been tipped for an Oscar run.

“‘Breathe’ is a deeply personal story to all of us at The »

- Stewart Clarke

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Spain’s BTeam Pictures Bows Production Slate with ‘Between Two Waters,’ ‘Las niñas’ (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

Barcelona  — BTeam Pictures, the production arm of the newly monikered boutique Spanish distributor BTeam, formerly known as Betta Pictures, is launching its first production slate, taking equity participation in two projects, both produced out of Barcelona: “Between Two Waters” and “Las Niñas.”

“Between Two Waters” marks Catalan auteur Isaki Lacuesta’s follow-up to his feature debut “The Legend of Time,” produced by Mallerich Films and Jaleo Films, which depicted the singular relationship between a gipsy kid and Makiko, a young Japanese girl, with echoes in its depiction of the gypsy character of flamenco genius Camarón de la Isla.

“Between Two Waters” turns around two other main characters from the film  – siblings Isra and Cheíto –  depicted 12 years on.

Isra is now a drug trafficker, Cheíto has joined the army, and patrols the Straits of Gibraltar. Just out of jail, Isra tries to persuade his brother to avenge their father, murdered before their eyes when they were kids.

“Two »

- Emilio Mayorga

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SAG-AFTRA Member Meeting Draws Several Hundred as Strike Vote Looms

12 hours ago

With a possible strike authorization vote in the offing, several hundred SAG-aftra members have attended a closed-door meeting to receive an update on contract negotiations from their leaders.

The Wednesday evening gathering, held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, took place with the union just two days away from the expiration of its current three-year master contract. Union president Gabrielle Carteris, who’s heading the negotiating committee, greeted members as they signed in and union staffers were taping testimonials from members supporting the strike authorization.

The turnout was impressive, given that the meeting was first announced only three days earlier — on June 25 after the national board said it would seek a strike authorization vote from its membership unless a deal is reached by June 30. The two-hour meeting broke up at about 9 p.m.

“There was nothing but unity in the room,” said one member as he left.

The performers union said in a message to »

- Dave McNary

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Red Carpet Premiere (Photos)

14 hours ago

A look on the carpet during the La premiere of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Related storiesFilm Review: 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'Spider-Man Will Not Appear in Tom Hardy's 'Venom,' Says Kevin Feige (Watch)Spider-Man Freaks Out Starbucks Customers in Prank Video (Watch) »

- Jacob Bryant

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Film Review: ‘Becks’

15 hours ago

Becks” is the kind of modest, non-earthshaking indie enterprise that ends up being so satisfying mostly because it’s about a character type familiar from real life but all too under-represented at the movies. In this case, that’s a woman — played with consummate lived-in assurance by Broadway veteran Lena Hall — whose primary personality traits would be considered banally typical if she were a slacker-type dude, yet they can still seem exotic and frightening to some when they come in the form of a young lesbian.

A not-yet-successful musician who parties too hard, horndogs too much and seeks gainful employment too little, Becks (née Rebecca) might be a staple in any gay scene. Still, she remains a stubborn outsider in the hometown she’s been forced back to in Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell’s narrative feature debut. What happens during her stay there is not particularly surprising or original, but »

- Dennis Harvey

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Regains Top Spot on Disc Charts

15 hours ago

Walt Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” returned to the No. 1 spot on the national home video sales charts the week ended June 25, while newcomer “Life,” a science-fiction horror film from Sony Pictures, rode its $30 million domestic box office gross to a top five debut.

“Life,” about a group of astronauts who unwittingly return from Mars with a monster-in-waiting, debuted at No. 2 on the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and No. 4 on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. Npd data shows it sold 96% as many units during the week as “Beauty and the Beast.”

The previous week’s top seller, “John Wick: Chapter 2,” from Lionsgate, slipped to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

The Lego Batman Movie” from Warner Bros., slipped to No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart and remained at No. 3 on »

- Thomas K. Arnold

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Chloe Bridges Joins Science-Fiction Movie ‘Skate God’ as Villain

16 hours ago

Daytime Divas” star Chloe Bridges has signed on to portray Azura, the villain in the dystopian science-fiction action film “Skate God,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Alexander Garcia will be directing “Skate God” from his own screenplay and producing under his Multi-Valence Productions along with Autumn Bailey Entertainment and Anne Stimac.

The story is set in a futuristic world and centers on a skater played by Luke Benward. He discovers he is a descendant of the Greek god Zephyrus and is thrust into a battle with a society led by Ryan Cooper (“Rough Night”) that wants to take over the outside earth. Celeste Desjardins will play the goddess love interest in the film.

Principal photography is scheduled for the fall in Oklahoma, where the film has been approved for a tax rebate. The film also stars Peter Fonda, Evan Ross, Osric Chau, Lauren Mayhew, Nathan Gamble, Gabriela Lopez, Daniel Pinder, Lolita Davidovich, and »

- Dave McNary

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Halle Berry on Her Oscar Win: It ‘Meant Nothing’ for Hollywood Diversity

16 hours ago

Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Academy Award for best actress in 2002 for her performance in “Monster’s Ball.” Fifteen years later, and she’s still the only woman of color to receive the coveted award.

In a recent Teen Vogue interview at a panel at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the actress divulged her thoughts on the Academy’s lack of diversity progress, most notably the 2016 Oscar nominations, which drew criticism for failing to represent nominees of color and sparked the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

“I sat there and I really thought, ‘Wow, that moment really meant nothing. It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing,'” she said of her own historic win in light of the 2016 nominations.

Since her win, eight women of color have been nominated in the best-actress category.


Academy Invites Record 774 New Members

“I was profoundly hurt by that, and »

- Rebecca Rubin

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Smith Global Media Buys Animated Movies ‘Gnome Alone,’ ‘Charming’

17 hours ago

Harry Smith’s fledgling Smith Global Media has bought distribution rights to the animated movies “Gnome Alone” and “Charming.”

Both films were financed and produced by 3Qu Media in association with Sc Films International and created in Cinesite’s Montreal studio. Both films were produced by John H. Williams (“Shrek”) and were executive produced by 3Qu Media’s Henry Skelsey, Jon Christianson and Jeremy Ross.

Variety first reported in  2014 that Williams was launching 3Qu as a specialist in CG-animated feature films for the international marketplace with “Charming” as its first film.

Charming” is set for a wide theatrical release in the second quarter of 2018. Voice cast includes Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Ashley Tisdale, recording artists Sia and Avril Lavigne, Nia Vardalos, John Cleese and singer-songwriter G.E.M. The film was written and directed by Ross Venokur and centers on a young Prince (voiced by Valderrama) with an irresistible appeal and a maiden who wants him only for his »

- Dave McNary

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‘Deadpool 2’: Josh Brolin Teases Cable Transformation With New Photo

17 hours ago

Production for “Deadpool 2” is officially underway, and Josh Brolin is ready for his closeup.

The actor posted a photo on Instagram with a mold being taken of his face in transformation to become Cable, a time-traveling soldier.

“Insanity on the brink,” he captioned the picture. “Face is morphing into something machine, fierce, hair sliced, arm machined, bulged. Where is Deadpool?!? Looking. Looking. All I got are these two…molding me, prodding, turning me into something hard.”

Ryan Reynolds also shared a new photo from set Wednesday with “Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s” Julian Dennison on his back, who joins the cast for the superhero sequel.

The ensemble cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Leslie Uggams, and Jack Kesy. Reynolds is a producer on the film with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with Drew Goddard assisting and David Leitch co-directing.

Reynolds first teased production for the sequel on Instagram when they began shooting on Tuesday.

Deadpool 2 »

- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Ouija’ Director Stiles White Boards Supernatural Thriller ‘Forgotten’ (Exclusive)

18 hours ago

Ouija” director Stiles White has come on board the supernatural thriller “Forgotten” for Ld Entertainment, Variety has learned.

White will team with his spouse and writing partner Juliet Snowden to pen the script. Snowden is also executive producing.

“Forgotten” is an English-language adaptation of the 2012 German supernatural thriller “Du Hast Es Versprochen,” set on a remote island where two women reunite at a childhood vacation home. It explores themes of fear and friendship as the pair find themselves haunted by the ghost of a girl from their past.

Ld Entertainment will be financing. Producers are Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, and Jennifer Monroe of Ld Entertainment alongside Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films.

White made his directing debut on 2014’s “Ouija,” helming from a script he co-wrote with Snowden. Produced by Jason Blum and Michael Bay, “Ouija” was a major financial success for Universal as it grossed more than $100 million worldwide on a $5 million budget »

- Dave McNary

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Spider-Man Freaks Out Starbucks Customers in Prank Video (Watch)

19 hours ago

Some unsuspecting Starbucks customers were in for a Spidey surprise when Spider-Man dropped from the ceiling to claim his grande cold brew.

The agency Thinkmodo — also behind the telekinetic coffee shop trick for “Carrie” — rigged the promotional prank for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” In the video Spider-Man-suited stuntman Chris Silcox drops from the ceiling on wires while customers wait to pick up their orders, giving several of them quite the scare.


Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Continues to Dominate Social Media

The video also features a cameo from Stan Lee, in keeping with Marvel’s inclusion of the comic book originator in all its films.

Spider-Man snaps a few selfies with the customers before heading out the door — after all, he can’t be late for school.

Spider-Man Homecoming” stars Tom Holland as the teenage superhero. Holland has made use of his new alter-ego several times by visiting children’s hospitals in his Spider-Man getup. He »

- Erin Nyren

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Russell Simmons Biopic ‘Life and Def: Sex Drugs Money + God’ in the Works

19 hours ago

Fox has launched development of a Russell Simmons biopic “Life and Def: Sex Drugs Money + God” with Simmons on board to produce.

The project will cover Simmons’ rise the inner city area of Queens to become a major impresario in the worlds of music, fashion, and TV. Fox has tapped Kenya Barris, the creator of ABC’s series “Black-ish” and co-writer of “Barbershop: The Next Cut” and “Girls Trip,” to write the script.

“Life and Def” will be a co-production between Simmons’ Def Pictures and Misher Films, with Simmons and Kevin Misher producing. Jake Stein, Bobby Shriver, Josh Bratman and Andy Berman are the exec producers.

Barris signed an overall deal with Fox in September for the development of feature projects through his production company, Khalabo Ink Society, aimed at telling compelling stories that pull back the curtain on the parts of our society that typically go unnoticed.

“Life and Def” will cover the rise of rap »

- Dave McNary

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Judge Dismisses Steven Mnuchin From Relativity Lender’s Fraud Suit

20 hours ago

A judge has once again rejected a lawsuit that accuses Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of defrauding a lender while he was co-chair of Relativity Media.

Rka Film Financing sued Mnuchin in New York in February, alleging that he helped the struggling film company cheat the lender out of $80 million. Rka was essentially wiped out when Relativity declared bankruptcy in 2015. The financier has alleged that OneWest Bank — where Mnuchin served as chairman and CEO — emerged unscathed, recouping $50 million from Relativity shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

The lawsuit alleges that Mnuchin enjoyed a close personal relationship with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, and was intimately aware of the company’s finances.

But in his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Charles Ramos found that Mnuchin had no relationship or fiduciary duty to Rka, and therefore cannot be held liable for fraud.

“Rka has yet to identify a specific factual misrepresentation made by Mnuchin to Rka,” Ramos wrote. »

- Gene Maddaus

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