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Comic-Con 2017 in Photos

41 minutes ago

Photos of panels, activations, and other events from Comic-Con 2017.

Related stories'Walking Dead' Showrunner Honors Stuntmant John Bernecker at Comic-Con'Big Bang Theory' Stars Talk Sheldon-Amy Finale Proposal at Comic-Con'Battlestar Galactica' Cast and Creators Reunite at Comic-Con »


- Jacob Bryant

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‘Mr. Robot’ Creator Sam Esmail to Write, Direct Bermuda Triangle Movie

1 hour ago

Sam Esmail, creator of the hit TV series “Mr. Robot,” has been hired to write and direct Universal’s untitled Bermuda Triangle movie.

Earlier drafts were written by the teams of Miles Millar & Alfred Gough, and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White.

Esmail created the thriller series “Mr. Robot” for USA Network, focused on an underground society of hackers with access to private, government, and corporate secrets. His new Amazon series “Homecoming,” starring Julia Roberts, was recently given a two-season order.

The film’s producers are Dylan Clark (“Planet of the Apes” series) for his Universal-based Dylan Clark Productions, along with Esmail and Chad Hamilton for their Esmail Corp. Millar and Gough will executive produce.

Esmail made his feature film directorial debut on the 2014 romance “Comet,” starring Emmy Rossum and Justin Long.

Details on the Bermuda Triangle project are being kept under wraps. The Bermuda Triangle is located between the Florida Straits, Bermuda, »


- Dave McNary

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Antalya Film Festival Names Mike Downey as Artistic Director

1 hour ago

Turkey’s Antalya Film Festival, whose next edition runs Oct. 21-27, is upping its profile as an international film hub with the appointment of British-Irish producer Mike Downey as artistic director and Sarajevo Film Festival chief Mirsad Purivatra as strategic consultant.

Downey, who serves as the deputy chairman of the European Film Academy, is CEO of Film and Music Entertainment. He has produced or co-produced more than 60 movies. Recent credits include Mariam Khatchvani’s “Dede,” which won the East of the West Special Jury Prize at this month’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Downey has previously served in senior leadership roles at the Motovun and Pula film festivals.

This year’s Antalya festival will see the merger of the international and national competition sections. Other sections include Gala Screenings, playing “some of the most anticipated world cinema releases,” the Children and Family section, Retrospectives and the Culinary section.

The festival also hosts the Antalya Film Forum, which »


- Variety Staff

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Lana Condor to Star in ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Movie Based on Jenny Han Novel

1 hour ago

Teen rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” starring Lana Condor (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) in the lead role, has begun production in Vancouver.

The film, based on the novel by bestselling author Jenny Han, is being produced by Awesomeness Films and Overbrook Entertainment. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is directed by Susan Johnson with a screenplay by Sofia Alvarez.

Condor plays romance-novel buff Lara Jean Covey, who starts her junior year content to spend lunch in the library reading. Her love life goes from imaginary to out of control when her secret box of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to the various boys she’s had crushes on throughout her life. To avoid confronting them, Lara Jean fakes a relationship with one of them — but starts to realize that she may not be pretending.

Cast of the film also includes John Corbett (“United States of Tara,” “Sex and the City »


- Todd Spangler

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‘Dunkirk’ Takes $8.6 Million in Early International Openings

2 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has grossed $8.6 million from its first two days in 31 international markets.

France is the leading market with $1.8 million on 668 screens in its first two days, followed by South Korea with $1.6 million on its opening day on Thursday at 1,252 locations. The Korean results were in line with Nolan’s “Interstellar” and above “Gravity” and “American Sniper.”

Dunkirk,” based on the 1940 evacuation of 300,000 stranded Allied troops from France, stars Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, and Harry Styles. Film critics have already offered extensive praise for the cinematography, direction, acting, and musical score.

Nolan shot most of “Dunkirk” in France and California. The Warner Bros. release has a price tag of $150 million.

Australia took in $938,000, including Wednesday night sneaks, on 535 screens for a 54% share of the top five films. The results are 45% ahead of “Gravity,” 33% ahead »


- Dave McNary

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Marisa Tomei on Playing Aunt May in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ Sequels and Hollywood Sexism

2 hours ago

After one Oscar win, two nominations, and roles in more than 60 movies, Marisa Tomei needs no introduction. Yet playing Aunt May in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has changed the energy around her. She noticed it on the day of her interview with Variety when a disdainful contractor in her Manhattan building in the West Village suddenly offered a welcoming smile. “He pulled out a picture for me to sign for his son,” Tomei recalled, with a laugh.

With nearly $500 million in box office receipts worldwide, “Spider-Man” is one of the biggest hits of the year. The reboot of the comic-book series features Tom Holland as a high-school web slinger. And his Aunt May is hipper, too, than the version played by Rosemary Harris in the 2002 tentpole. Tomei spoke to Variety about not watching other “Spider-Men” films and how she found the character.

How has the reception been to your “Spider-Man?”

I think the most gratifying has been the reaction »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Harry Styles on Shooting His Debut Film Role in ‘Dunkirk’: ‘It Was So Intense’

2 hours ago

Harry Styles sat down with Elvis Duran on the Z100 Morning Show on Friday, where the two discussed Styles’ debut acting role in Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic “Dunkirk” and how it impacted the creation of Styles’ self-titled solo album.

According to Styles, he stopped all work on his new album to film the movie.

Related

Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Battles to $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

“I started the album, I’d been kind of writing for not very long at all, and then the movie thing happened,” Styles said. “I just stopped for five months and took a complete break.”

Styles went on to discuss what it was like working on the set of a film starring such seasoned actors as Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The singer said he’s a huge fan of Nolan and he felt lucky to be working with the cast on his debut film.

“Honestly, »


- Erin Nyren

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Christopher Nolan’s Films Ranked Worst to Best

2 hours ago

To celebrate “Dunkirk,” we ranked all ten of Christopher Nolan’s films.

Related stories'Dunkirk' Takes $8.6 Million in Early International OpeningsHarry Styles on Shooting His Debut Film Role in 'Dunkirk': 'It Was So Intense'Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Battles to $5.5 Million on Thursday Night »


- Owen Gleiberman

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James Gunn Used Tyler Bates’ Music During Shooting of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

3 hours ago

It’s fairly unusual for a director to ask a composer to write music for his movie even before shooting begins. But it’s practically unheard of to play that music on the set while the actors are performing.

Yet that’s exactly what happened on “Guardians of the Galaxy” and this year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.” Director James Gunn took his cue from composer Ennio Morricone and director Sergio Leone, who often followed this procedure.

“Music informs the way the cameras move, the performances, the cuts, everything,” Gunn says.

Composer Tyler Bates recalls visiting London’s Shepperton studios in 2013, when Gunn was making the first “Guardians,” and being surprised to hear star Chris Pratt rave about hearing the music on the set.

Related

Tyler Bates Balances Careers as Guitarist and In-Demand Film Composer

“When the actors hear the music play,” Gunn points out, “they get a much better idea of the tone of the »


- Jon Burlingame

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Paramount Pushes ‘Cloverfield Movie’ Back to 2018

4 hours ago

Paramount and J.J. AbramsBad Robot Productions have moved the science-fiction thriller “2017 Cloverfield Movie” back by more than three months to Feb. 2, 2018, from Oct. 27. The studio has also moved George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” forward a week from Nov. 3 to Oct. 27.

This is now the second delay for the “Cloverfield” threequel, which had been originally titled “God Particle,” after it was pushed back for the first time from its initial Feb. 24, 2017, date.

“The 2017 Cloverfield Movie,” which will most likely be retitled, will become the first title to launch on Feb. 2, just two days before the NFL’s 52nd Super Bowl.

Related

Oren Uziel Discusses Directorial Debut ‘Shimmer Lake,’ ‘God Particle’ Joining ‘Cloverfield

The story, set in the near future, centers on a team of astronauts on a space station making a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality, all while desperately trying to fight for their survival.

Nigerian-American »


- Dave McNary

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Al Gore at Town Hall: ‘Every Night Is a Nature Hike Through the Book of Revelations’ (Listen)

4 hours ago

Washington, D.C. — Al Gore says that recent environmental devastation and extreme weather, more than anything, is what is changing minds on the climate crisis.

Appearing at a SiriusXM/Variety town hall on Thursday, tied to the release of Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s new movie “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” Gore traces climate denial to the economic meltdown in 2008. Before that, the nominees of both parties, Barack Obama and John McCain, acknowledged that action needed to be taken to address climate change.

“You saw, really, the beginning of the modern fever of climate denial in the Republican party start then,” Gore said in the town hall. “But we are seeing pushback, now, and we are seeing a lot of changes with people who don’t want to engage in the argument. They don’t even feel comfortable using the phrase global warming. But they understand…that they have an obligation to their kids, and »


- Ted Johnson

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Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Battles to $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

5 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has opened impressively with $5.5 million in Thursday night preview screenings in North America.

Universal’s comedy “Girls Trip” launched respectably with $1.7 million in Thursday night shows in 2,195 domestic theaters, while Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” matched that figure at 2,600 locations.

Warner Bros. is opening “Dunkirk” at 3,720 domestic venues Friday. The studio has forecasted that the highly praised World War II epic will take in between $35 million and $40 million for the launch weekend but other trackers believe the final number will be higher.

Related

Dunkirk’ Stars Recall Receiving Script Shrouded in Secrecy: ‘I Felt Like I Was on a Spy Film’

The movie is getting the widest 70Mm release in more than two decades, a testament to the trust the backers have in Nolan. The director shot much of “Dunkirk” with Imax’s extremely high-resolution 2D film cameras.

The Thursday night preview numbers included $1.6 million from 402 Imax screens »


- Dave McNary

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Kevin Spacey Playing Author Gore Vidal in Netflix Original Biopic (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

Rome – Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is playing writer Gore Vidal in a new Netflix original biopic, “Gore,” which is in production in Italy.

U.S. director Michael Hoffman (“The Last Station”) is helming the 1980s-set film about the late American author, playwright, and occasional political candidate. “Gore” is currently shooting in Rome but will move next month to Vidal’s longtime villa in Ravello, a village on the Amalfi Coast, sources tell Variety.

British producer Andy Paterson (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) is producing “Gore” for Netflix.

Netflix was not available for comment.

Vidal’s beloved gravity-defying villa La Rondinaia, nestled on a craggy cliff in Ravello a thousand feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea, will feature prominently in the movie, according to the president of the Ravello Foundation, Sebastiano Maffettone, local media reported. At La Rondinaia, which he sold in 2004, Vidal entertained his vast network of high-profile friends and acquaintances, including Greta Garbo, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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India’s Reliance Industries Buys Stake in Balaji Telefilms

6 hours ago

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. is acquiring a 24.9% stake in leading content provider Balaji Telefilms for $64.2 million, part of Reliance’s push into the entertainment sector. Balaji operates the digital content platform Alt and will use the Reliance investment to grow the business further.

Led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance operates in the telecom, petroleum, retail, and media spheres. The group’s 2016 annual revenue was $44.7 billion.

Balaji Telefilms produces most of India’s top-rated Hindi-language television content, including “Naagin,” “Kum Kum Bhagya,” and “Ye Hai Mohabbatein.” The Balaji-produced “Chandrakanta” is currently airing on the Colors channel operated by Network 18, the media group in which Reliance owns a controlling stake.

Lipstick Under My Burkha” (pictured), a film that initially ran afoul of Indian censors but was subsequently cleared, is being distributed from Friday by Balaji’s films division, Balaji Motion Pictures, alongside Alt.

“This investment in content production (including digital content) is in line with [our] commitment to invest »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Michael Alago, Who Signed Metallica and White Zombie, Gets the Documentary Treatment in ‘Who the F**k Is That Guy?’

6 hours ago

If the histories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre warrant four hours of prime HBO real estate in “The Defiant Ones,” then certainly Michael Alago, the flamboyant New York punk habitue who signed Metallica to Elektra and White Zombie to Geffen during his stints as an A&R executive, deserves his 77 minutes of recognition.

In the spirit of similar documentaries on behind-the-scenes heroes such as Rodney Bingenheimer (“The Mayor of Sunset Strip”) and Danny Fields (“Danny Says”), “Who the F**k Is That Guy?” recounts the remarkable journey of Alago, a Puerto Rican kid who grew up on Brooklyn’s New Utrecht Avenue with his bedroom facing an elevated subway track. That undoubtedly influenced his passion for post-punk hardcore rock. “I love the noise,” he says at one point in the movie. “I love the sweat.  I love when I go to concerts and it’s 99% guys.”

The documentary was directed by punk-rock veteran Drew Stone, who »


- Roy Trakin

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Venice: New Films by George Clooney, Guillermo Del Toro, Stephen Frears Expected to World Premiere (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Rome – George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” Stephen Frears’ “Victoria and Abdul,” and Paolo Virzi’s “Ella and John,” starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, are among the titles strongly tipped to world premiere at the upcoming 74th Venice Film Festival.

Also expected to make their worldwide bows on the Lido are Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” Andrew Haigh’s “Lean on Pete,” and Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama.”

Less than a week before the official announcement, the buzz on the Venice lineup remains somewhat muted, though some locked-in titles have surfaced, including Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” which will open the fest. There’s also certainty over the absence of some titles – especially “Blade Runner 2049” and Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!”, both high-profile movies that had been considered as possibilities.

Suburbicon,” starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin, and Oscar Isaac, looks set to be the second Paramount picture to launch from »


- Nick Vivarelli

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‘Scaffolding,’ ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’ Take Jerusalem Film Festival’s Top Prizes

11 hours ago

Matan Yair’s “Scaffolding” and Hong Sang-soo’s “On the Beach at Night Alone” took the top prizes at the 34th Jerusalem Film Festival during an awards ceremony Thursday evening.

On the Beach at Night Alone” won the Wilf Family Foundation Award (worth $20,000) for best international film. The jury, which comprised Israeli director Nadav Lapid, Israeli actress Evgenia Dodina and American journalist Deborah Young, said Hang had created “a mysterious magic, rooted in the heart of daily life” and had done so with “the simplest of cinematic tools.”

“Love, hatred, affection, rage, sexuality, loneliness and deep pain are reflected in the face and body of a young woman, the main character, one of the deepest descriptions of a human being we’ve seen in cinema in recent years,” the jury said.

Scaffolding” won the the Robert Nissim Haggiag Award for best Israeli feature film (worth $28,000), as well as best actor and an honorable mention for best cinematographer »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Film Review: ‘The Black Prince’

12 hours ago

Queen Victoria once painted a charming watercolor of the young Maharajah Duleep Singh carefully adjusting a child’s turban on the head of her son Arthur. Victoria was no artist, but the sketch delights thanks to the intimacy between the two royals, one Indian, the other British, and speaks of the familial affection the Queen felt for the man whose throne in Punjab her government had confiscated. Unfortunately, where the illustration offers a window onto a relationship, the new biopic on Duleep, “The Black Prince,” provides no similarly insightful rewards.

Designed as a Quality (with a capital “Q”) production demonstrating the Maharajah’s gradual awakening to his Indian heritage after years in exile acting the British squire, director-writer Kavi Raz’s oh-so-simple take on a deeply contradictory character turns a fascinating historical figure into a sad and dully predictable footnote. Clunkily scripted and generically pretty in a Stately Home porn kind of way, the »


- Jay Weissberg

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Film Review: ‘Awaken the Shadowman’

12 hours ago

A slow burn of a horror drama that doesn’t build toward quite enough of a blaze to be truly memorable, “Awaken the Shadowman” nonetheless ranks a cut above the genre norm for its atmospheric and confident setup. This debut feature for director “J.S. Wilson” (actually a pseudonym for the three scenarist-producers, two of whom are also the male leads) finds estranged brothers reunited over their mother’s disappearance, but increasingly troubled even more by weird goings-on in the town where they grew up. Some horror fans will decry the lack of gore — or even much violence — here. More discerning ones, however, may just lament that a film with such a strong first two-thirds grows rushed and underwhelming in the last lap.

After a brief prologue depicting an imperiled young woman and baby in 1964 Connecticut, we meet present-day protagonist Adam (James Zimbardi), a Redding, Calif. construction worker struggling to meet the needs of his small family — to »


- Dennis Harvey

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Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Regina King, Abigail Spencer Seek SAG-aftra Board Seats

18 hours ago

SAG-aftra’s upcoming national board election has drawn a quartet of new high-profile candidates — Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Modine, Abigail Spencer and Regina King.

With ballots going out July 25, the names were revealed as the self-styled progressives of Membership First and the ruling Unite For Strength Factions have unveiled their candidate slates representing the Los Angeles branch, which has the largest representation and the most competitive races. The winners will be announced on Aug. 24.

Most of the attention is on the presidential race with current president Gabrielle Carteris heading the Unite For Strength ticket, facing a challenge from Membership First’s Esai Morales along with independents Peter Antico and Robert B. Martin, Jr. SAG-aftra’s 80-member national board is the key ruling body for the union.

Taylor Thomas is best known for voicing the young Simba in “The Lion King” and starring in “Home Improvement,” where he was a cast-mate of current national board member Patricia Richardson.

“Since »


- Dave McNary

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