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Shyamalan's 'Split' Impresses with $40 Million Debut as 'Rogue One' Tops $1 Billion Worldwide

17 hours ago | Box Office Mojo | See recent BoxOfficeMojo.com news »

M. Night Shyamalan has delivered a second hit in a row as his latest film, Split, is estimated to have delivered a top five January opening, leading the weekend charge with a three-day opening four times as big as its reported $10 million budget. Meanwhile, Paramount's xXx: The Return of Xander Cage delivered as expected while the Weinstein's The Founder scored a top ten finish. Additionally, Disney's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has become the 28th film to top $1 billion worldwide. With an estimated $40.18 million, Split is currently the fourth largest January opening of all-time, just ahead of 2008's Cloverfield, which debuted with $40 million and went on to gross $80 million domestically. This is also a dramatic improvement over Shyamalan's well-received 2015 thriller The Visit, which opened with $25.4 million and went on to gross over $65 million. Should Split be able to pull off a 2.5x multiplier we'd be looking at Shyamalan's first »

- Brad Brevet <mail@boxofficemojo.com>

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'Split': M. Night Shyamalan Explains an Ending Years in the Making

20 hours ago | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the ending of Split.]

The final moments of Split were more than 15 years in the making, a secret so guarded that writer-director M. Night Shyamalan didn't allow it to be included in test screenings of the film.

Just to reiterate the above warning (because seeing Split spoiler-free is such a fun experience), spoilers below:

After Kevin Wendle Crumb (James McAvoy) makes his escape, the film moves to a bar, where a news broadcast recounts some of the events of the film. A man with multiple personalities kidnapped three young women and held them captive »

- Aaron Couch

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Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)

21 January 2017 11:29 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In one of the biggest deals in the history of Sundance, Amazon Studios has landed distribution rights to “The Big Sick” for about $12 million, Variety has learned.

The pact comes on the heels of the romantic comedy’s rousing premiere on Friday night. The film is about a Pakistani-American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) whose relationship with his girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) is nearly derailed over cultural differences and a health crisis. Nanjiani co-wrote the heavily autobiographical script with his wife Emily V. Gordon.

The negotiations for North American rights and other foreign territories stretched into midnight on Saturday. Nanjiani told Variety earlier this week that he wanted the film to get a theatrical release. Unlike Netflix, its rival streaming service, Amazon is a big proponent of the theatrical experience, with all of its films getting at least some kind of theatrical run.

The Big Sick” sparked interest from a number of distributors, »

- Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang

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Sundance: Neon Buys ‘Ingrid Goes West’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Neon has bought North American distribution rights to “Ingrid Goes West” out of the Sundance Film Festival, Variety has learned.

To nab the indie comedy-drama it beat out the likes of A24 and Netflix, both of whom were in the hunt. The film is a satire of the social media age, chronicling the exploits of an unstable woman (Aubrey Plaza) with an obsessive streak.

In addition to Plaza, “Ingrid Goes West” stars Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen. It marks the feature film directorial debut of Matt Spicer.

CAA negotiated the deal.

More to come…

Related storiesSundance Film Review: 'To the Bone''Saturday Night Live' Host Aziz Ansari to Donald Trump: 'Don't Tweet About Me Being Lame' (Watch)Sundance Cancels Three Screenings Over Power Outage »

- Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh

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Bleecker Street Nabs ‘Nostalgia’ With Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Bleecker Street has nabbed North American distribution rights to “Nostalgia,” a drama about the memories that certain artifacts evoke. Mark Pellington (“Arlington Road”) directs the film with a cast that includes Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine Keener, Bruce Dern, Nick Offerman, Amber Tamblyn, John Ortiz, and James LeGros. Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip”) wrote the screenplay.

Bleecker Street already has a relationship with Pellington. The indie label is distributing “The Last Word,” a drama with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried that premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film makes its way to theaters in March. Bleecker Street’s films include “Denial,” “Captain Fantastic,” and “Eye in the Sky.”


Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)

“Mark has assembled an incredible cast to share this story of family, memories and loss,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen in a statement. “‘Nostalgia’ is one »

- Brent Lang

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Woody Harrelson Confirms Role in ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff (Watch)

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

It’s official: Woody Harrelson is joining “Star Wars.”

The actor confirmed Variety‘s story from earlier this month that reported he’ll be in the upcoming Han Solo spinoff during an interview at the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher at the Sundance Film Festival.

Asked by Variety if he would be playing Han Solo’s mentor in the spinoff, Harrelson responded, “Yeah, I am.”

On Jan. 3, Variety reported that Harrelson was the top choice to play the mentor to Alden Ehrenreich’s young Han Solo. At the time, however, talks were still in early stages. Harrelson is at Sundance to promote his new movie “Wilson,” which also stars Laura Dern.

More to come…

Related storiesTV Review: ABC's 'Downward Dog,' Starring Allison Tolman'Saturday Night Live': Putin Mocks Trump's Inauguration (Watch)Vin Diesel's 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage' Leads International Box Office »

- Variety Staff

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Sundance: Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Religious Drama ‘Novitiate’

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed worldwide rights to “Novitiate,” a religious drama that is set against the backdrop of Vatican II. The pact is in the mid-seven figure range.

For readers who didn’t grow up taking communion, Vatican II was a council that introduced a series of reforms meant to modernize the Catholic Church. It remains controversial.

Novitiate” marks the narrative feature directorial debut of Maggie Betts. Melissa Leo stars as a mother superior with Margaret Qualley as a young woman who is called to a life in the seminary. Reviews for the film have been strong. Variety critic Guy Lodge praised “Novitiate” as an “…intelligent, ambiguous nunnery drama.” Leo’s performance has been singled out for particular praise.

Before the festival had even started, Sony Pictures Classics picked up rights to “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay love story with Armie Hammer. It premieres Sunday.

There’s »

- Brent Lang

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Vin Diesel’s ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ Leads International Box Office

15 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Vin Diesel’s “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” showed major muscle to lead the international marketplace with $50.5 million in 53 territories.

The action movie, from Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios, finished first in 32 markets, performing 42 percent above “Kingsmen,” 4 percent above “San Andreas,” and on par with “G.I. Joe Retaliation.”

India generated the top number with $7.3 million including previews, followed by first-place launches in Russia with $5.5 million, France with $3.1 million, and Germany and Mexico with $2.8 million each. Australia generated $2.3 million in second place and Brazilian grosses were $2.2 million for a third-place finish.


Film Review: ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’

“Xander Cage” will open in Korea on Feb. 9 and in China on Feb. 10. The film has an $85 million budget with backing from Chinese companies Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group, which limits Paramount’s exposure to about 50 percent. Paramount and the two companies announced a three-year $1 billion co-financing deal on Thursday. »

- Dave McNary

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London Critics’ Awards: ‘La La Land’ Comes Out On Top, Huppert Doubles Up

13 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The London Film Critics’ Circle tends to spread the wealth between multiple films in any given year, but their affections were even more split than usual Sunday. Through the evening, you might have felt the wind blowing in the direction of “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea” or “Love & Friendship,” all of which took a brace of awards at tonight’s ceremony at the May Fair Hotel in London — or even last year’s Oscar winner “Son of Saul,” a 2016 release in the U.K. that pulled off a surprise director of the year win for first-timer László Nemes.

But in an eleventh-hour coup that echoed its triumph in the NYFCC voting last month, it was hot Oscar favorite “La La Land” that danced off with the film of the year prize, despite winning no other trophies. In what I’m told was one of the tightest vote counts in the Circle’s history, »

- Guy Lodge

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Sundance Film Review: ‘My Happy Family’

17 minutes ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

“My Happy Family,” the somewhat attenuated second feature from helmers Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross (a real-life couple credited here as “Nana and Simon”), continues their exploration of Georgia’s distaff side with a low-key, slice-of-life look at a middle-aged woman who leaves her husband. With its vociferously arguing family members, multiple dinner table scenes, and camerawork by Dp Tudor Vladimir Panduru (who also shot Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation”), it feels much closer to recent Romanian cinema than to such similarly-themed titles as Paul Mazursky’s “An Unmarried Woman.” Although the energy and freshness of the directors’ acclaimed debut “In Bloom” are not so much in evidence here, “Family” does offer an interesting perspective on a changing patriarchal society, which should serve this sociological drama well on the fest circuit and in niche European play.

When we first meet her, Manana (theater thesp and vocalist Ia Shugliashvili), a 52-year-old high school literature teacher, »

- Alissa Simon

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Christine: Rebecca Hall is superb in a heartbreaking tale of depression

32 minutes ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In 1974, news anchor Christine Chubbuck killed herself live on air. In this considered drama, Hall gives gravitas and depth to her tragic tale

Related: Christine review: Rebecca Hall astonishes in real-life horror story

Much like Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, another movie based on a true story, Antonio Campos’s Christine ends with a gunshot to the head, and each is grounded by a superb performance in the title role. Indeed, Christine may be the first movie to give Rebecca Hall enough room to show everything she can do.

Continue reading »

- John Patterson

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Sundance Film Review: ‘The Polka King’

1 hour ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

One of those conspicuously talented comics who nonetheless can be tricky to cast, Jack Black has rather surprisingly found some of his best big-screen roles portraying liberally dramatized versions of real people, à la “School of Rock” and “Bernie.” (No, “Drunk History” doesn’t count.) Featuring Black’s most eccentric true-life character yet, “The Polka King” amply plays to its star’s strengths, yielding a hilariously tough-to-believe biopic that should easily prove one of the bigger commercial breakouts of Sundance’s 2017 edition.

Co-directors Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky’s affectionately farcical comedy is based on a loopy 2009 documentary about Jan Lewan, a colorful Polish émigré turned “Polka King of Pennsylvania” turned convicted Ponzi-scheme felon. Perfectly cast down the line, this bizarre tale of the American Dream gone kitschily awry introduces Black’s Jan in 1990, when he’d be well on his way to realizing that dream, if only the finances would cooperate. »

- Dennis Harvey

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Bushwick’

1 hour ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

America on the brink of a second civil war is a timely concept that only got timelier last November, and gritty action-thriller “Bushwick” exploits that frightening “what if” scenario from a boots-on-the-ground perspective. Even if the low budget execution is uneven at times, there’s enough snap to the filmmaking, and enough raw power in the premise, to make for solid B-movie excitement. A surprisingly potent performance from professional wrestler (and “Guardians of the Galaxy” co-star) Dave Bautista should only add to the appeal for a young male audience.

While Bautista will surely be central to any marketing campaign, the focus of the movie is actually grad student Lucy (Brittany Snow), who becomes our avatar into a disconcerting alternate universe in which the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick is under military invasion. After witnessing her boyfriend’s brutal death just outside of an abandoned subway station, Lucy makes her way through »

- Geoff Berkshire

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Korea Box Office: ‘The King’ Rules Weekend With Record Opening

2 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Opening on 1,310 screens nationwide, Next Entertainment World’s crime drama “The King” scored $13.2 million from 1.85 million admissions between Wednesday and Sunday to top the Korean box office. That is a record for the biggest January opening in the country.

Directed by Han Jae-rim (“The Face Reader”,) and starring Zo In-sung (“A Frozen Flower”) and Jung Woo-sung (“Asura: The City of Madness”,) ‘The King” involves a young prosecutor who rises swiftly to power, but tumbles even quicker.

On 976 screens, another Korean drama, Cj’s “Confidential Assignment” earned $8.1 million from 1.15 million admissions. Starring Hyun Bin (“The Fatal Encounter”) and Yoo Hae-jin (“Luck-key”), the story revolves around cops from South and North Korea on a covert operation.

Disney’s “Moana” earned $2.29 million between Friday and Sunday for a total of $8.4 million after two weekends. Japan’s “Your Name” dropped from first place to fourth, earning $1.86 million for a total of $21.1 million after three weekends. »

- Sonia Kil

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Call Me by Your Name’

2 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

As numerous are the ways in which Luca Guadagnino’s latest (and most personal) film, “Call Me by Your Name,” advances the canon of gay cinema, none impresses more than the fact that it’s not necessarily a gay movie at all. Rather, the “I Am Love” director’s ravishingly sensual new film — adapted from André Aciman’s equally vivid, 1983-set coming-out/coming-of-age novel — is above all a story of first love, one that transcends the same-sex dynamic of its central couple, much as “Moonlight” so recently did.

Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics shortly before its Sundance premiere, this Proustian account of an Italo-American 17-year-old’s transformative summer may not be as commercial as that film, but it ought to be a word-of-mouth art-house hit all the same — especially when talk turns to what teenage Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and American summer guest Oliver (Armie Hammer) do with a ripe peach. »

- Peter Debruge

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Berlin Syndrome’

4 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Australian director Cate Shortland’s films trade in a kind of threatening beauty. Their surfaces are too immaculate, too exquisite, not to be masking messier, queasier ideas and impulses beneath: The reckless, harshly punished sexuality of a teenage girl in “Somersault,” or a youth’s dawning realization of her Nazi brainwashing in “Lore.” In “Berlin Syndrome,” Shortland’s equally, intensely elegant third feature, the ugly subversion of seductive exteriors is built into the film’s very narrative, as a heady, sexy holiday hook-up turns overnight into an abusive abduction — cuing a nightmarish game of sexual control and captivity, in which toxic masculinity calls the shots. Adapted from Melanie Joosten’s 2011 novel, this arresting, slightly over-extended conversation piece marks Shortland’s first foray into genre storytelling — though the film’s aloof tone and angular gender politics keep it in the arthouse domain.

That said, with sales already having proven brisk — a U. »

- Guy Lodge

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Sundance: The Orchard Buys ‘The Hero’ With Sam Elliott

4 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Orchard has acquired all North American distribution rights “The Hero,” a drama about a fading Western star that offers up a showy role for Sam Elliott. It reunites the actor with director Brett Haley; the pair previously teamed up for “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”

Their latest collaboration premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. Variety’s Peter Debruge praised Elliott’s work, but faulted Haley and his co-writer Mark Basch for having “…mistaken what the Aarp calls ‘movies for grownups’ for a kind of mushy feel-good pablum, throwing together a handful of familiar clichés in the hope that Elliott’s charm will carry the day.”


With ‘The Hero,’ Sam Elliott Takes Center Stage

“The Hero” follows Elliott’s Lee Hayden, an actor whose glory days are behind him. A pothead and an occasional voiceover actor, he decides to try to make amends »

- Brent Lang

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‘Quest’ Review: A North Philadelphia Family Perseveres in Slow-Burning Verité — Sundance 2017

4 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

“You don’t know how we live,” mutters Christine’a Rainey (aka “Ma Quest”). She’s talking at the television, where a then-campaigning Donald Trump is blustering out his “What do you have to lose?” speech. Certainly no one is more deserving of her ire, but there are many people in this country, including those who consider themselves sympathetic to the working poor, who also have no idea how the Rainey family lives.

Enter “Quest,” a sweeping and intimate documentary about the struggles of an average American family. Not that the Raineys are average, but with 14.5 percent of Americans living below the poverty line, they represent a large swath of this country that goes largely unseen. For his debut feature, Jonathan Olshefski spent nine years befriending and filming the Raineys, taking his time to produce a meditative portrait of what everyday life is like for so many people.

Read More: ‘Whose Streets? »

- Jude Dry

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The Orchard Lands Sam Elliott Drama ‘The Hero:’ Sundance

5 hours ago | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Exclusive: In a deal worth around $3 million for North American rights, The Orchard has acquired the Brett Haley-directed The Hero, the drama that stars Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, and Katherine Ross. Haley, who helmed I’ll See You In My Dreams, wrote the script with Marc Basch. The Orchard will do a big fall theatrical push for the film, a real showcase for Elliott in a role that is a glove fit for him. He plays a former Western film icon… »

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“Hiring All Women Isn’t a Gimmick; It’s Progress”: Director Jovanka Vuckovic | Xx

5 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Bela Lugosi once famously said, “It is women who love horror. Gloat over it. Feed on it. Are nourished by it. Shudder and cling and cry out — and come back for more.” He was as right then as he is now. Women love horror. And yet here we are in 2017, and even though more than half of all horror film ticket buyers are women, people […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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