Sundance Documentary ‘Motherland’ Acquired by FilmRise

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FilmRise has bought exclusive North American distribution rights to Ramona S. Diaz’s documentary “Motherland,” which won the world cinema documentary special jury award for commanding vision at Sundance. The deal was made with London-based sales and distribution company Dogwoof. The film will be released theatrically in the summer via The Film Collaborative, and will have… Read more »

Paddington Tries Washing Windows in Sequel’s First Trailer (Watch)

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Paddington is back with his usual slapstick as a less-than-successful window washer in the first teaser trailer for the sequel. The well-intentioned bear faces the task of getting a heavy bucket of water up a ladder, but winds up with the bucket on his head. “You’re aware that a bear is on your roof?” a… Read more »

Cannes Talk: Russell Levine, Route One Topper

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Russell Levine, who heads Route One, is heading for the Cannes Film Festival for the third time. Route One is a producer on “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway, “The Circle,”  starring Tom Hanks, the Jenny Slate Sundance comedy “Landline,” which has sold to Amazon, and recently announced they are producing the Damien Chazelle script “The Claim”… Read more »

‘Paddington 2’ Lands January Release in U.S. From Weinstein Company

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The Weinstein Company has set family comedy sequel “Paddington 2” for a Jan. 12 release in the United States. “Paddington 2” stars Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris, and Brendan Gleeson. Ben Whishaw, and Imelda Staunton, who provide the voices of Paddington and Aunt Lucy, also reprise… Read more »

Lionsgate Stock Jumps 8.65% in Wake of Strong Earnings Report

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Stock of Lionsgate has surged 8.65%, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings report. Class A shares gained $2.21 to close at $27.76 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the highest close since Jan. 28. After the market closed Thursday, Lionsgate reported better-than-expected earnings of $62 million, or 30 cents a share,… Read more »

Box Office: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sets Sail With $40 Million Worldwide

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Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” set sail with $40 million worldwide during its first two days in theaters, with first-place openings in every market. The $40 million figure does not include Friday’s earnings from China, where Disney is estimating a first-day total of $20 million. The sequel grossed $5.5 million from Thursday… Read more »

Box Office: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Plunders $5.5 Million on Thursday Night

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Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” pillaged $5.5 million at Thursday night screenings. The fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” — the first since 2011 — is poised to dominate Memorial Day moviegoing, while Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch” should deliver moderate results during the holiday. Recent forecasts placed “Dead Men Tell No Tales” in… Read more »

Cannes: Michel Hazanavicius’ Dramedy ‘Redoubtable’ Lands at Cohen Media

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Cohen Media Group has bought the North American rights to Michel Hazanavicius’ dramedy “Redoubtable” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie centers on iconic French director Jean-Luc Godard and the drama surrounding the shooting of his controversial 1967 film, “Le Chinoise,” which starred his then-wife, Anne Wiazemsky, and foreshadowed the global student… Read more »

Cannes: Oscilloscope Buys Pyrotechnic Documentary ‘Brimstone and Glory’

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Oscilloscope has bought North American rights to Viktor Jakovleski’s documentary “Brimstone & Glory” for release later this year. The film focuses on the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, a 10-day celebration of San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers. Artisans show off their technical virtuosity and dozens of teams build larger-than-life papier-mâché… Read more »

Universal Developing World War II Disaster Drama ‘Salt to the Sea’

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Universal Pictures is developing a movie based on Ruta Sepetys’ historical novel “Salt to the Sea,” and set up the project with “Transformers” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The studio won the rights in an auction. Sepetys is repped by UTA, Steven Malk at Writers House, and attorney Judith Karfiol. “Salt to the Sea,” a New… Read more »

Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Early Man’ to Be Released by Lionsgate in North America

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Lionsgate has acquired U.S. rights to Aardman Studios’ upcoming prehistoric comedy adventure “Early Man,” starring Eddie Redmayne. Directed by Nick Park from a script by Mark Burton and John O’Farrell, the stop-motion movie is co-financed by the U.K.’s Aardman and France’s Studiocanal. It’s a re-team of the companies following 2015’s “Shaun the Sheep.” Lionsgate also… Read more »

Lionsgate Earnings, Revenues Top Wall Street Forecasts

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Lionsgate has reported earnings of $62 million, or 30 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — topping Wall Street forecasts of 22 cents a share and far above year-ago earnings of $10.9 million. Revenues also came in above expectations at $1.26 billion, while analysts had been forecasting $1.19 billion. Lionsgate announced… Read more »

Michael Bay’s ‘Drone Warrior’ Biopic Finds Writer in Andy Bellin

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Screenwriter Andy Bellin will adapt the military action movie “Drone Warrior” for Michael Bay and Paramount. Variety first reported last year that production company Bay Films was developing a biopic of former U.S. Army Delta Force fighter and drone warfare expert Brett Velicovich for Paramount Pictures, in a story of how the Iraq War vet… Read more »

Writers Guild of America Members Ratify New Three-Year Contract

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Members of the Writers Guild of America have ratified nearly unanimously their new three-year successor deal on the guild’s master contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Only 30 members voted “no.” Of the 3,647 valid votes cast, there were 3,617 “yes” votes (99.2%) and 30 “no” votes (0.8%). There were 9,441… Read more »

Animated Movie ‘The Extincts’ in the Works at Cirrina Studios

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Cirrina Studios is moving into pre-production of its first animated feature film, “The Extincts” with plans for a 2019 release. The project is based on British writer Veronica Cossanteli’s middle grade novel of the same name. “The Extincts” follows the adventures of a boy who goes to work on a farm hidden deep in the… Read more »

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Signs Distribution Deals for Japan, France, Italy

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Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has unveiled new distribution partnerships for Japan, France, and Italy in multi-year deals that will begin this summer with Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit.” The film, Annapurna’s inaugural release under its new marketing and distribution arm, will launch in the U.S. on Aug. 4. Longride and Mars will be handling the Japanese and French markets,… Read more »

Woody Harrelson’s ‘LBJ’ Biopic Lands November Release Date

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Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment has set a Nov. 10 release date for Woody Harrelson’s “LBJ” with a launch at more than 300 North American locations. Electric Entertainment acquired all North American rights earlier this month for the movie, starring Harrelson as President Lyndon B. Johnson with Rob Reiner directing. The film also stars Jennifer Jason… Read more »

Joel Edward Dean, Hollywood Producer and Agent, Dies at 77

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Veteran Hollywood producer and agent Joel Edward Dean died May 13 in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia. He was 77. Dean, a New York native, broke into show business in 1960, when he started in the mailroom as a runner/agent trainee at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif. He went… Read more »

Roland Emmerich Directing ‘Midway’ Battle Movie With China’s Bona on Board

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Roland Emmerich will direct World War II battle movie “Midway” with China’s Bona Film Group leading the investment for The Mark Gordon Co. The project was unveiled Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival. Bona will distribute the film in China and retains worldwide distribution rights, excluding the U.S. CAA brokered the deal and will represent… Read more »

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sailing Toward $80 Million, ‘Baywatch’ Eyes $40 Million

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Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is poised to dominate Memorial Day moviegoing, while Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch” should deliver decent results during the holiday. Forecasts place the fifth iteration of Disney’s “Pirates” franchise at about $80 million at 4,276 North American locations during the Friday-Monday weekend. The international launch —… Read more »

Cannes: Mubi Buys Bruce McDonald’s Coming-of-Age Drama ‘Weirdos’ for U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

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Streaming platform Mubi has acquired all U.S. rights to coming-of-age drama “Weirdos” for a late summer release in theaters, followed by an exclusive streaming premiere, Variety has learned exclusively. Canadian director Bruce McDonald directed from a script by Daniel MacIvor. The movie is set in 1976 in Nova Scotia during the weekend of the American… Read more »