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Tiffany Haddish Joins Ike Barinholtz in Satirical Thriller ‘The Oath’

2 hours ago

Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish has come on board as an executive producer and star in Ike Barinholtz’s satirical thriller “The Oath,” which will mark his feature directorial debut.

The cast also includes Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”), Billy Magnussen, Meredith Hagner, Jon Barinholtz, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, and John Cho. QC Entertainment, which also backed Jordan Peele’s horror hit “Get Out” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” will produce and finance the film, which was unveiled in September.

The movie — set in a near-future America in which citizens are required to take a loyalty oath — follows a man trying to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family. Barinholtz wrote the script.

In addition to Barinholtz, the producers are Sean McKittrick, Ray Mansfield, Edward H. Hamm, Jr., Andrew Robinson, and David Stassen. QC Entertainment and UTA are co-representing “The Oath” for domestic sales.

Haddish starred on the NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show” then broke out »


- Dave McNary

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‘Stranger Things’ Actor Finn Wolfhard to Star in Haunted House Film ‘The Turning’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

Finn Wolfhard, best known for his star-making turn as Mike on “Stranger Things,” is set to star opposite Mackenzie Davis in Amblin’s haunted house film “The Turning.”

Floria Sigismondi is on board to direct with Scott Bernstein and Roy Lee producing.

In this adaptation of Henry James’s novella “The Turn of the Screw,” a young woman hired as the nanny to two orphans is convinced that the country mansion they live in is haunted. Wolfhard will play one of the orphans. »


- Justin Kroll

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Salma Hayek Details Harassment By Harvey Weinstein on ‘Frida’

4 hours ago

Salma Hayek added her voice Wednesday to the growing list of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

In an New York Times essay, the actress called Weinstein her “monster” and detailed her experiences while working on the 2002 Miramax-produced film “Frida.”

Hayek outlined the various demands Weinstein asked of her, including showering with him, letting him watch her take a shower, giving him a massage, performing oral sex on him and opening the doors to him at all hours of the night.

“The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival,” she wrote.

Hayek specifies that the price she suffered for rebuffing his attempts at sexual activity was to endure his continued rage.

At »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Coco’ Tops $400 Million at Worldwide Box Office

6 hours ago

Disney-Pixar’s animated “Coco” has topped the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office, earning $138.6 million domestically and $263 million internationally.

Disney made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that it still has about a third of the international market to launch in, including Australia (Dec. 26), Italy (Dec. 28), Brazil (Jan. 4), Korea (Jan. 11), the U.K. (Jan. 19), and Japan (March 16).

The top international market has been China, which has nearly matched the North American total with $133 million. “Coco” has stayed strong in China following its opening weekend of $18 million, following with an impressive $43.7 million in its second frame and declining by only 21% in its third weekend.

The film, which focuses on a 12-year-old boy and the celebration of the Day of the Dead and its music, set a box office record in Mexico with $56.8 million following a late October launch ahead of the holiday.

“Coco” is also getting awards-season traction, winning the best animated feature award from the National Board of »


- Dave McNary

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Bold Films Laying Off Half of Its Employees (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Following a handful of box office disappointments, Bold Films will be laying off roughly half of its 14 employees.

The layoffs began this past Friday and are the result of underwhelming box office grosses, including the Jake Gyllenhaal film “Stronger.” Sources also say that production on Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux” has been delayed. Natalie Portman had been attached to star in the drama about the life of a pop star, but her involvement is now in question. It’s unclear if her schedule will be free when shooting on the film begins.

Among those let go are Lisa Zambri, Svp of production and development.  However, her counterpart, Jon Oakes, will remain on in the same position. Bold positioned the cuts as necessary moves to cut down on overhead. The company will also cut down on the number of films it produces.

Bold Films has bet on auteur-driven projects, producing the likes of “Nightcrawler” and “Whiplash,” while inking »


- Brent Lang and Justin Kroll

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SAG Awards Nominations Continue Strong Diversity Showing

7 hours ago

Wednesday’s SAG Awards nominations showed plenty of diversity as the actors union continued supporting movies and television shows with multi-racial casts — as they have in recent awards seasons.

Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” scored nominations for ensemble cast and for Mary J. Blige in the supporting actress categories even though Netflix gave the Mississippi-based movie only a cursory theatrical release last month. Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” found plenty of traction with a cast nomination and a best actor nod for Daniel Kaluuya — even though the film opened 10 months ago.

The Big Sick,” based on Kumail Nanjiani’s true-life romance with his wife, took a cast nomination. And there were two surprise nominations in the supporting categories — Hong Chau for “Downsizing” and Denzel Washington for “Roman J. Israel Esq.” Washington won the 2016 SAG Best Actor category for “Fences.” Chau also received a Golden Globe nom for supporting actress.

On the television side, “Orange Is the New Black,” “[link »


- Dave McNary

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AMC Adding Late-Night Screenings for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

1 hour ago

AMC will show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at 2 a.m. Friday at a “significant” number of its Imax and Dolby Cinema locations due to customer demand.

Locations with the late shows include AMC Loews Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, to AMC River Park Square in Spokane, Wash.

Scheduling 2 a.m. screenings is not unprecedented, but it is rare. AMC did so two years ago for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which went on to set an all-time domestic record.

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “The Last Jedi” will start showing in North America at 6 p.m. Thursday. Additionally, several AMC locations will be showing the movie on a 24-hour schedule from Thursday night into Friday morning, including New York City locations AMC Empire 25, AMC Fresh Meadows and AMC Lincoln along with the AMC Southpoint 17 in Durham/Raleigh, Nc.

AMC may add more locations to the 24-hour list due to its general policy that it will »


- Dave McNary

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Donald Trump Is ‘Mentally Unfit’ to Be U.S. President, Rob Reiner Says

1 hour ago

President Donald Trump is “mentally unfit” to be U.S. leader, Rob Reiner told Variety at the Dubai Intl. Film Festival, but the director fears the American press is failing to hold the Trump administration accountable for its actions. Reiner, who is best known for “A Few Good Men,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Princess Bride,” was at the festival to promote his latest movie, “Shock and Awe.”

“Donald Trump is the single-most unqualified human-being to ever assume the Presidency of the United States. He is mentally unfit. Not only does he not understand how government works, he has no interest in trying to find out how it works,” Reiner said, when asked to compare Trump with President Lyndon Johnson, who was the subject of Reiner’s recently released biopic “Lbj.”

Reiner added: “Lbj – except for the Vietnam War, which is a terrible stain on his legacy – was probably the most effective and successful President as far »


- Leo Barraclough

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Hugh Jackman to Perform ‘Greatest Showman’ Song Live During Fox’s ‘A Christmas Story Live’ Telecast

3 hours ago

Hugh Jackman will perform a song from 20th Century Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” live as part of a commercial spot to run Sunday during Fox’s presentation of the musical “A Christmas Story Live.”

Jackman and co-stars Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Keala Settle will perform “Come Alive” from the P.T. Barnum biopic during a commercial break in the three-hour telecast of “A Christmas Story Live.” The tune was penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the score and songs for “Christmas Story.”

The two-and-a-half minute spot will feature elaborate staging with 150 dancers, and will be directed by “Showman” helmer Michael Gracey along with live TV vet Beth McCarthy-Miller. “Christmas Story” will originate from a soundstage on the Warner Bros. lot. Jackman and Co. will perform from an adjacent soundstage. “Showman” opens Dec. 20.

“We are creating what we expect will be a memorable performance providing energy and excitement to viewers that drives them to »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Redbox Launches Digital Movie and TV Service, Without Disney Titles

3 hours ago

Redbox is finally opening a bridge to an online digital-entertainment future, years after the streaming-video revolution took off.

The company, known for its nationwide network of DVD-rental kiosks, publicly launched Redbox On Demand on Wednesday, a service stocked with more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles available for VOD rental or electronic sell-through.

Redbox has inked deals for the service with Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.

Disney is the notable exception. The Mouse House hasn’t had a direct deal with Redbox for DVDs since 2012, and it is now suing Redbox, seeking to stop it from selling digital codes (extracted from DVD combo packs) for downloading or streaming Disney movies. Redbox has said in response that it’s “confident in our pro-consumer position.” Meanwhile, Disney operates a digital-locker service, Movies Anywhere, for storing and accessing content purchased from different retailers and has buy-in from other studios — but which Redbox »


- Todd Spangler

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Nabil Ayouch: ‘No Subject Should be Taboo in the Arab World’

4 hours ago

“No subject should be taboo in the Arab World today,” Nabil Ayouch, one of its leading film directors, told Variety Studio at the Dubai Festival, where he presented his latest feature, Casablanca-set “Razzia,” a multi-part fresco of how an act of censorship in the past plays out over four characters’ lives in the present.

Avouch went on to detail the dangers of restrictions: “If we want to develop this part of the world, if we want to give a voice to the talents – and there are many talents in the Arab world – we should be capable of watching ourselves in the mirror.”

He went on: “If we do not speak about ourselves as we really are, some other people will come and do it instead of us.”

But Avouch is still “full of hope” for the Arab world. “We know that in this region we are not different. They want to buy us into thinking we’re different: »


- John Hopewell

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SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris: ‘People Are Feeling Empowered’

4 hours ago

SAG-aftra’s leaders believe the entertainment industry’s sexual harassment scandal is having a profound impact on the union’s 160,000 members.

“People are feeling empowered to speak out and there has been a significant increase in the number of people doing so,” said Gabrielle Carteris in an interview with Variety on the eve of Wednesday’s SAG Awards nominations announcement. The number of reports of sexual harassment that come into SAG-aftra now average at least five a day — far above the level prior to the Oct. 5 bombshell revelations about disgraced executive Harvey Weinstein. Carteris and National Executive Director David White asserted that the surge in reporting reflects a cultural sea change on the entire issue.

“The calls that we are getting are coming in from across the entire spectrum,” White said. “We are aware that the simple act of naming the problem, along with having new tools to protect oneself, definitely helps to empower our members. »


- Dave McNary

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Patrick Stewart on ‘Star Trek’: The ‘Highlight That Had the Biggest Impact on My Life’

4 hours ago

Sir Patrick Stewart was in the United Arab Emirates this week to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dubai Film Festival. Variety Studio caught up with the legendary star of stage and screen to discuss that lifetime of achievements, and its unconventional highlights.

“There have been so many highlights, many of which would not be seen by the outside world as highlights. But, they were for me,” Stewart started.

According to him, the first such highlight-in-disguise came in the form of a six-pounds-fifty a week salary for filling the role of stage-manager/actor in a preparatory theater. He said: “That was a highlight because it moved me from a trained actor who doesn’t have a job, to a professional actor being paid.”

He then recalled another: “Finally being accepted into the Royal Shakespeare company. The only ambition I had ever really had was to work with that organization.”

Similarly meaningful »


- Jamie Lang

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Oscars: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Takes Aim Below the Line

4 hours ago

In some sense, it seems silly to continue weighing the awards prospects for Lucasfilm’s ongoing “Star Wars” franchise each year. With “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and now “The Last Jedi,” it’s become clear, both in how these extravaganzas are realized on the screen and how Disney chooses to position them at year’s end, that trophies aren’t part of the equation. Revenue and firmly rooted brand appeal drive the machine, and even when a filmmaker like Rian Johnson steps in with the first truly fresh writer-director vision of the series since George Lucas breathed life into it 40 years ago, there just seems to be a ceiling on how galvanizing the material can truly be outside the established fandom.

That’s not to say what Johnson has created is otherwise disposable. Quite the opposite. Albeit overstuffed and built on a script that spins its wheels a bit while trying to reconcile everything being thrown »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Peter Debruge’s 10 Best Films of 2017

5 hours ago

2017 was the year of fanboys and wonder women, as the former grew almost deafening in their zeal (permitting no dissent on the unquestioned genius of the DC, Marvel, Star Wars and Apes franchises, even when the movies themselves disappointed), while the latter found a common voice and courageous platform to take on the honchos in showbiz, politics and many other fields who had the nerve to ignore that famous superhero adage, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“The Reckoning” (my nickname for this essential, long-overdue upheaval) has finally brought accountability for the kind of sexual harassment and all-around misbehavior no one should have to face in the workplace, toppling some of the biggest titans of our industry in the process. My heart broke when I read the words of ex-Weinstein employee Lauren O’Connor’s internal memo: “The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.” But the movies have long given us a model for optimism »


- Peter Debruge

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Director Alexander Payne Shares ‘Downsizing’ Production Team’s Sizable Contributions

5 hours ago

Paramount’s “Downsizing” is set in the near future, when a group of people shrink themselves to reduce their carbon footprint and extend their financial resources. Director Alexander Payne (who also scripted with Jim Taylor) had high praise for his behind-the-camera colleagues. “My charge to them was that I wanted it to look real; I didn’t want things eye-popping. I wanted a real sense of place.”

Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael

“The structure of the film is episodic. It starts in Omaha, then moves to Leisureland and so on. It’s four or five short films, but all of them are encased in a movie that should ultimately look like something shot in 1978. It’s a movie set 15 years in the future, but I wanted it to look like an old movie, as wacky as that sounds. I think older movies have a pleasing patina, and I wanted the pretty colors and grain. We knew that »


- Tim Gray

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Watch American Heroes Portray Themselves in Trailer for Clint Eastwood’s ’15:17 to Paris’

6 hours ago

Warner Bros. Pictures dropped the official trailer for Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris” on Wednesday morning.

The biographical drama centers on three Americans — Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos — who thwarted an Isis attack on a train heading to Paris in 2015.

The chilling trailer starts with the trio, played by themselves, on the Thalys train during a European vacation. Panic ensues as an armed terrorist sweeps the aisles. The trailer follows their childhood, military training, and combat experience leading up to the attack.

“You ever just feel like life is just pushing us toward something, like some greater purpose?” Stone asks in a flashback before footage rolls of him on the train lunging at the armed terrorist.

The film is based on the autobiography “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes” written by Jeffrey E. Stern, Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Owen Gleiberman’s 10 Best Films of 2017

6 hours ago

Earlier this year, as winter was doing its slow fade, something happened in the world of movies you don’t see too often: A film arrived out of nowhere to become a fast-break phenomenon, lionized by critics and flocked to by audiences. I’m talking about Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” (#2 on my 10 Best list), which was made on a tiny budget ($4.5 million!) but became, virtually overnight, a seismic pop-cultural event.

For a moment or two, a movie owned not just the multiplexes but the conversation. It was thrilled to, talked about, granted the hot-potato status of a sociological wake-up call. For a moment, the concept of “niche culture” felt like it was being left in the dust. Something similar happened six months later, in the middle of the summer, when Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (which didn’t make my list — to me, it was an awesome spectacle but too remote) rode a veritable tidal wave of »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Reed Midem Expands Its eSports Bar Event For Third Edition

6 hours ago

Reed Midem, the organizer of MipTV, Mipcom and Midem, will be hosting a third, expanded edition of eSports Bar in Cannes from Feb. 12-14.

The event, which aims at bringing together leaders of eSports organisations, brands, agencies and media, launched in Cannes in February and held its second edition in Miami in September.

Reed Midem said they were encouraged to ramp up the scale of the event following the strong demand from the Esports industry execs who attended the inaugural edition in Cannes and gave it 96% satisfaction rate. The upcoming Esports Bar will welcome four times more guests than the first event which had gathered 115 delegates from 69 companies and 18 countries.

Hosted in the Palais des Festivals’ gold standard Rotonde exhibition hall, the third event will bow an eSports Bar Game Shakers, a competitive section that will hand out awards to individuals and companies for their forward-thinking approach to esports. The jury will include execs from The [link »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Dwayne Johnson’s Busy Slate

6 hours ago

One of the most in-demand actors in the biz, Dwayne Johnson’s slate begs the question, “How does he have the time?”

This past year, Johnson had starring roles in three major films, including the box office smash “The Fate of the Furious,” and he’s not slowing down. His IMDb page boasts more than 10 titles with projects ranging from his own “Fast & Furious” spinoff to the development of a “San Andreas” sequel to a rumored role in the “Suicide Squad” sequel.

One of Johnson’s biggest recent successes was Disney’s “Moana,” which became one of the year’s top-grossing films of the year, with more than $640 million at the box office. So it makes sense for sequel rumors to begin swirling.

“I am only interested in a ‘Moana’ sequel if the entire movie is solely based on my character Maui and that he has no friends except his tattoos and loves singing Lin-Manuel Miranda songs »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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