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

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

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

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

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

1 hour 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’

2 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

2 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

4 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’

5 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

7 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

8 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

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

9 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

11 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)

11 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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Japan Box Office: ‘It’ Climbs to Number One in Third Weekend

12 hours ago

Warner Bros.’ “It” climbed to number one in its third weekend at the Japanese box office after spending its first two in second slot. For the Nov. 18-19 frame the film earned $1.73 million on 140,000 admissions, driving its cumulative total to $10.2 million. Admissions in its third weekend were 6% higher than in its first.

Falling to number two, was the local actioner “High & Low The Movie 3 Final Mission.” With Shochiku distributing, the film made $1.26 million, while boosting its cumulative total to $6.2 million.

The highest ranking among the new entries to the top ten was the Toho animation “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters,” the first of a planned trilogy.

Debuting on 158 screens, the film made $919,000 on 71,200 admissions. It is expected to finish near the $5 million mark. By comparison, the live action “Shin Godzilla” ended its 2016 first run with $74 million, the third highest total for all films that year.

Related storiesKorea Box Office: 'Justice League' on Top as Foreign Films DominateJapanese »


- Mark Schilling

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‘Paddington’ Team Takes on Enid Blyton Classic ‘Magic Faraway Tree’

15 hours ago

With “Paddington 2” still riding high at the British box office, the team behind the hit movie is developing another children’s classic, “Magic Faraway Tree,” an adventure novel by Enid Blyton.

The project first came to light in 2014 when  Sam Mendes and Pippa HarrisNeal Street Productions said they were working on a movie. StudioCanal, the European studio behind the Paddington films, is now on board, and Simon Farnaby, who wrote the new film starring the stuffed bear, is attached to write the Blyton adaptation. It marks the first time the Blyton’s 1943 novel has been taken to the big screen.

Blyton, a prolific author of books read by generations of British schoolchildren, wrote four “Faraway Tree” books. “Magic Faraway Tree” is the second in the series. Each book takes place in the enchanted forest in which the special tree grows; the tree is tall enough to reach the clouds and large enough to contain small houses »


- Stewart Clarke

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Idfa: Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Doc ‘Piripkura,’ Awarded Amsterdam Human Rights Award (Watch Trailer)

18 hours ago

Brazil’s “Piripkura” has won the Amsterdam Human Rights Award at this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (Idfa). Recognition for a devastating chronicle, the award comes with a cash prize of €25,000 ($29,000).

The jury said of the film: “With this poignant, exceptional story, the filmmakers tackle a broad series of issues that should be high up on the international human rights agenda. The filmic quality of this documentary left us no choice but to award the Amsterdam Human Rights Award to ‘Piripkura.’”

The film was produced by Brazil’s Zeza Filmes with Maria Farinha Filmes and Grifa Filmes as associate producers.

Zeza Filmes focuses on projects which have a personal human approach. They are currently working on a fiction series titled “Incógnita,” and the documentary film “Meu Querido Supermercado,” with producer Casa Redonda. The later received the Idfa Bertha Fund in 2015.

Farinha Filmes produces and distributes stories meant to raise awareness about social issues which will affect »


- Jamie Lang

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Idfa Film Review: ‘Golden Dawn Girls’

18 hours ago

Perhaps no few seconds of video — plus the ethical debate that shot up around them — encapsulates 2017 better than the mid-interview shot of American white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched in the face by a furious protester: a base act of moral retribution that, in a glum year for left-wing politics, many a dispirited liberal has secretly repeat-watched on YouTube as a kind of stress-ball for the eyes. Even such cold comfort is in short supply, however, in “Golden Dawn Girls,” Norwegian docmaker Håvard Bustnes’s troubling, grimly compelling study of the rapid rise of neo-Nazism in contemporary Greece, in which any sense of comeuppance is held strictly in limbo.

With white nationalist politics depressingly ascendant in Europe and America alike, Bustnes’s unabashedly subjective, sometimes despairingly comic doc is sure to strike a chord with festival programmers, distributors and audiences following its Idfa world premiere, despite a few ragged technical edges; the presence of Nick Broomfield as executive »


- Guy Lodge

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Idfa: The Idfa Bertha Fund at 20 – ‘Bringing in New Voices, Other Stories’

18 hours ago

Amsterdam — As Idfa turns 30, its partners at the Idfa Bertha Fund are quietly celebrating its 20th, capping this milestone year by taking the festival opening night slot – with Mohamed Siam’s “Amal” – for the first time since 2013’s critical hit “Return To Homs,” by Talal Derki. Committed to supporting documentary filmmaking in developing countries, the fund receives nearly 1,000 submissions a year, of which it can financially support around 30 projects, offering a boost to films from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Middle East, as well as certain countries in Eastern Europe that are not part of the E.U.

“We operate like a regular fund,” says Isabel Arrate Fernandez, its managing director. “We have selection rounds, and we give grants for development, we give grants for production, which is really just cash.”

Depending on the projects and what they need, Bertha also tries to fit them into either Idfa’s Forum market, or its training »


- Damon Wise

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