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Ben Affleck in Talks for ‘The Accountant’ Sequel at Warner Bros.

56 minutes ago

Ben Affleck is in talks with Warner Bros. for a sequel to last year’s action-thriller “The Accountant.”

The studio is also in negotiations to bring back screenwriter Bill Dubuque, director Gavin O’Connor, and producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Mark Williams for the untitled project.

The Accountant” also starred Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson. The storyline followed a small-town certified public accountant with high-functioning autism who makes his living uncooking the books of criminal organizations.


Ben Affleck Pays Tribute to ‘Batman’ Predecessor Adam West

His character had received extensive military training as a child, which he uses as an adult to protect himself. Affleck’s character accepts payment in various non-cash forms such as rare comics, gold bricks, and paintings by famous artists. He formed an attachment with Kendrick’s character and rescued her after they were targeted for assassination.

The Accountant »

- Dave McNary

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Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo Untitled Drama From Dan Gilroy Lands at Netflix

1 hour ago

Netflix has won an auction for the movie rights to an upcoming untitled feature film drama set in the art world and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo.

Dan Gilroy will direct from his own script. The project re-teams Gilroy with “Nightcrawler” stars Gyllenhaal and  Russo in which the former played an ambitious cameraman and the latter a local news producer.

Gilroy has been directing a legal thriller with Denzel Washington for Sony, which recently changed the title from “Inner City” to “Roman Israel.”

Gyllenhaal stars Netflix’s “Okja,” directed by Bong Joon-Ho, which competed at the Cannes Film Festival last month. The movie also starred Korean child actress Ahn Seo-hyun alongside Tilda Swinton and Paul Dano. Netflix will make “Okja” available to stream on June 28.

He will be seen next as Jeff Bauman in the Boston Marathon drama “Stronger.” Gyllenhaal’s production company Nine Stories produced “Stronger” along with Mandeville and Bold. The film, »

- Dave McNary

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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’: It’s Time to Revamp the Special Achievement Oscar

2 hours ago

Matt Reeves’ “War for the Planet of the Apes” hits theaters July 14, but the filmmakers and 20th Century Fox are clearly confident in what they have. The review embargo lifted early Monday, more than two weeks ahead of release, while those who saw the film at a handful of early screenings were encouraged to share their enthusiasm on social media immediately.

And there was plenty of enthusiasm to go around. Reeves has crafted an epic and emotional study of grief and vengeance and the folly of man. It’s a truly remarkable tentpole film amid the frenetic summer fray, but it’s also yet another victory lap for the performance capture techniques Andy Serkis has been championing and defending as they’ve slowly but surely moved from industry-threatening boogeyman to wave of the future.

Which leaves the question: Is it time for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to dust off the defunct special achievement »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Palm Springs International Shortfest Announces 2017 Winners

2 hours ago

The 2017 Palm Springs International Shortfest announced its winners on Sunday. The short film festival screened 338 short films with more than 4,200 filmmaker submissions available in the film market.

Facing Mecca” received two awards, including best of the festival. “The Head Vanishes” and “Dekalb Elementary” received jury awards, and “Red Light,” “Coin Operated,” “Kayayo,” and “Lost Face” received audience awards.

“After spending a week in and out of theaters, and talking with filmmakers and audiences, we close out the festival with such a strong sense of community,” said festival director Lili Rodriguez. “Filmmakers are making movies about the changing world around them. I think our award winners showcase an understanding and compassion for people and it’s a great thing to see.”

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held Jan. 4-15, 2018, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will be held Jan. 2.

The 2017 Palm Springs International Shortfest award winners are:

Jury Awards:

Best Of Festival »

- Rebecca Rubin

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SAG-AFTRA Board Defends Leaders Over Alleged Misconduct

2 hours ago

SAG-AFTRA’s national board has rejected allegations of extensive misconduct by its top leaders, following accusations made in April by former SAG president Ed Asner and eight other members.

The board unanimously passed a resolution Sunday saying that the allegations by the United Screen Artists Committee were “either false or completely unsubstantiated,” based on a report by its outside counsel and accountants.

“The National Board that SAG-aftra categorically rejects the allegations and claims of the Usac letter and declines to take any of the actions requested therein, other than making records and information available for review by members as has always been SAG-aftra policy,” the board said.

“Be it further resolved that SAG-aftra urges Usac and its individual signatories to withdraw their potentially defamatory, unsubstantiated allegations against SAG-aftra executive leadership, and Be it finally resolved that the National Board expresses its full confidence in and appreciation for National Executive Director David White, Chief »

- Dave McNary

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Smith Global Media Signs Distribution Deal With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Recently launched theatrical distribution company Smith Global Media and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a distribution agreement for upcoming Sgm releases through 2020.

The pact includes both digital and physical distribution worldwide for Smith Global’s next 10-12 releases. Sphe will also handle the subscription video-on-demand (Svod) and television distribution.

Harry Smith, Will Smith’s younger brother, heads Smith Global Media. Smith has worked with his brother in real estate and at Overbrook Entertainment.

Variety first reported in October that Smith Global Media would handle its first release with the family drama “Believe,” which grossed $890,000 in 638 U.S. locations. Smith told Variety at that point that the company would distribute releases with budgets in the $5 million range.

Smith Global Media is bringing compelling, high-quality films to the marketplace,” said Ben Means, senior VP Strategic Partnerships for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “The strength of this slate will resonate with consumers globally in the home entertainment window on physical »

- Dave McNary

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Mantarraya Prods. Kicks Off Shoot of ‘Nahui’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Principal photography on Mantarraya’s artist biopic “Nahui” kicks off Monday in Mexico City with Irene Azuela, who has starred in “Miss Bala” and in Netflix’s “Sense8,” in the titular role.

“It’s our most ambitious film to date,” said Mantarraya’s Jaime Romandia, who describes it as a period piece and the first biopic in the company’s slate.

Azuela plays opposite Julio Bracho whose credits include TV series “El Capo” and Jorge Negrete’s biopic “Cantinflas,” as Dr. Atl, a painter and writer with whom Nahui had a tumultuous affair. Her real name was Carmen Mondragon but Dr. Atl gave her the moniker Nahui Olin, a symbol of Aztec renewal meaning “four movements.” At the peak of her career in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Nahui also posed as a model for the likes of Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot and Edward Weston.

Mantarraya is also prepping another pic with Tort, “Los »

- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World’ Sold to Lucky Red for Italy

3 hours ago

Rome — Italy’s Lucky Red has acquired Italian rights to Ridley Scott-directed kidnap drama “All The Money in the World” from Stx in the first announced sale of the hotly anticipated kidnapping thriller about the true 1973 abduction for ransom of J. Paul Getty III.

The potentially harrowing crime drama, which is currently shooting in Rome, stars Kevin Spacey as oil billionaire J. Paul Getty, who was reluctant to pay the ransom demanded by Italian kidnappers for his grandson; Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, the kidnapped teenager’s mother; Mark Wahlberg as the ex-cia negotiator brought on board to help negotiate; and rising star Charlie Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty III (pictured after his release) whose ear was cut off to coerce the family into paying.

In one of the standout deals of the Cannes market Stx in May took international rights to the potentially harrowing crime drama produced by Imperative Entertainment and Scott-Free »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Jack Black Comedy ‘The Polka King’ Lands at Netflix

3 hours ago

Netflix has picked up global rights to Jack Black’s comedy “The Polka King” and plans to launch the film later this year.

The Polka King” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Maya Forbes directed the film from a script she wrote with Wally Wolodarsky.

Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, Jacki Weaver, J.B. Smoove, and Vanessa Bayer also star in the story of local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan. The movie is based on the Joshua Brown and John Mikulak documentary, “The Man Who Would be Polka King,” which detailed Lewan’s rise and fall after persuading fans to invest in a Ponzi scheme, which landed him in jail.

Producers are David Permut, Stuart Cornfeld, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson, Wally Wolodarsky, Jack Black and Priyanka Mattoo. Production companies are ShivHans Pictures, Red Hour Film, Permut Presentations, and Electric Dynamite.

Dennis Harvey gave “The Polka King” a strong review at Sundance: “One of those conspicuously talented comics »

- Dave McNary

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DMG Invests in Super League Gaming, Launches eSports Division (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Dmg Entertainment is launching a new eSports division and has invested in Super League Gaming, Variety has learned.

The move comes as Dmg has been diversifying in recent months, moving beyond backing movies and shows to invest in emerging media platforms such as virtual reality. Dmg is best known for backing the likes of “Looper” and “Iron Man 3.” The new division is staffing up and sees the Super League Gaming equity stake as part of a larger strategic partnership.

eSports is one of the fastest growing sections of the gaming space. It involves organized multi-player competitions centered around popular video games such as “Hearthstone” and “Call of Duty.” The eSports market is projected to have grossed $463 million in 2016 and is expected to generate $1.1 billion in revenues by 2019, according to market researcher Newzoo.

Super League Gaming is trying to tap into that burgeoning audience by hosting competitions in movie theaters. Last year, »

- Brent Lang

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Elvis Presley Manager Biopic ‘The Colonel’ in Development (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Spencer Proffer, Steve Binder, and Joe Berlinger are developing a feature film about Elvis Presley’s manger Colonel Tom Parker.

Production is slated for early 2018. Parker, who died in 1997 at age 87, arrived in America as a 20-year old undocumented Dutch immigrant, and took great pains to hide his past. Before leaving Holland, he might have committed murder. »

- Dave McNary

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Minions Mob Snapchat in ‘Despicable Me 3’ Augmented-Reality Promo

5 hours ago

Snap has snagged a chunk of Universal-Illumination Entertainment’s “Despicable Me 3” marketing budget.

The impish Minions from the animation franchise are starring in three sponsored selfie Snapchat Lenses — including one of the first sponsored “world lenses” sold by Snap — which are running Monday in the U.S. for a 24-hour period. The studio’s augmented-reality campaign is aimed at pushing Snapchat’s predominantly Gen Z and millennial user base into theaters this coming weekend.

Snapchat’s world lens employs a smartphone’s outward-facing camera to incorporate floating objects superimposed in a user’s environment. In the The “Despicable Me 3” execution, Snapchatters can adopt the guise of the movie’s supervillain, Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker), and pop balloons floating in front of them to reveal Minions and other prizes.


Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig Welcome ‘Despicable Me 3’ With ’80s Field Day

The two others standard Snapchat lenses feature Minions invading two of the »

- Todd Spangler

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Film Review: ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’

5 hours ago

In the original “Planet of the Apes” movies, Caesar and his simian co-stars were buried beneath layers of prosthetic makeup, severely limiting their ability to emote. In Fox’s recently rebooted “Apes” trilogy (three and counting), the computer-generated chimps appear more human than the homo sapiens — which is clearly what the series has been working up to. In purely technical terms, director Matt Reeves more than achieves that goal, although it requires rigging the screenplay and reducing the human characters to crass two-dimensional stereotypes in the process.

Dawn has risen, and “War for the Planet of the Apes” picks up at a point where the world has been divided into two camps: those deeply impressed by all that directors Rupert Wyatt and Reeves have done with the franchise, and those who couldn’t care less. If you already find yourself on the side of the “Apes” enthusiasts (a fittingly militant lot), then “War” will likely be a »

- Peter Debruge

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Prayer-Based Drama ‘A Question of Faith’ Lands at Pure Flix

8 hours ago

Silver Lining Entertainment’s prayer-based drama “A Question of Faith” has been acquired by Pure Flix for a theatrical release on Sept. 29.

A Question of Faith” centers on three families from different cultures who live in the same community. They are complete strangers living vastly separate lives until a texting and driving accident thrusts them onto converging paths where they discover love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

Along with a message of faith, the storyline touches on racial prejudice, the consequences of texting and driving, and also addresses the debate surrounding organ donation.

The cast includes Richard T. Jones (“Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married,”), Kim Fields (“The Facts of Life”), C. Thomas Howell, GregAlan Williams, Christian recording artist Jaci Velasquez, Renee O’Connor (“Xena: Warrior Princess”), and T.C. Stallings (“War Room”).

A Question of Faith” is directed by Kevin Otto from a script by Ty Manns. Angela White »

- Dave McNary

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Sky Deutschland, Constantin Film Strike New Movie Deal

9 hours ago

Sky’s German pay TV operation has inked a new deal with Constantin Film, securing its movies across Germany and Austria.

The multiyear deal sees Sky and Constantin extend their movies deal. Sky gets Constantin titles including “Fack Ju Göhte 3,” “Das Pubertier – Der Film,” and “Gorillas,” in the first pay TV window. Library titles including “The Grudge,” and the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” reboot are also covered.

The agreement hands Sky linear pay TV rights for its movie channels, and also covers on-demand, meaning movies will also be available on streaming, on-demand and download services including Sky On Demand, Sky Go, and Sky Store.

Sky’s acquisitions executive Rainer Ingber, said: “By continuing our cooperation with Constantin Film, Sky customers will also be able to enjoy the most popular German films in the future – whether as an exclusive TV premiere or on demand.”

Franz Woodtli, director of home entertainment, cinema & national licensing at Constantin Film added: “We are »

- Stewart Clarke

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