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Fox Merges With Disney: The Storied Studio’s 102-Year History

4 hours ago

Movies weren’t yet talkies and the headquarters were located in New Jersey when Fox Film was founded in 1915. William Fox couldn’t have imagined that his modest film company would get bulked up by merging with 20th Century, produce some of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and become a global empire. Here’s a look back at Fox’s long history as it prepares to merge with Disney.

Fox Studios’ East Lot on Western Avenue at Sunset in Hollywood

1915 Fox Film Corp. created by William Fox. A key element was the Fox Theatres, which went into bankruptcy in 1933 and sold to National Theatres. The company moved from New Jersey to Echo Park and then Hollywood before settling in its present location west of Beverly Hills in 1926.

1935 On May 31, Fox merges with 20th Century, created by Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck, and becomes the last of the “big six” studios to be established (though film historians »

- Tim Gray and Pat Saperstein

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Oprah Winfrey to Receive 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes

16 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes.

Each year the recipient of the prestigious award is selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) board of directors and must be someone who has made “an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” HFPA president Meher Tatna said Winfrey embodies this qualification for the generations she has “celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades.”

“As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today,” Tatna said in a statement. “Holding titles such as Chairman, CEO and Founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden »

- Danielle Turchiano

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‘Coco’ Tops $400 Million at Worldwide Box Office

13 December 2017 10:35 AM, PST

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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Film News Roundup: Kevin Hart Boards Action-Comedy ‘On the Run’ at Universal

18 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Kevin Hart is set to star as an assassin in “On the Run,” while kidnap thriller “Days of Power” and French drama “Milla” are set for U.S. releases.

Project Launch

Universal Pictures has launched development of action-comedy “On the Run” with Kevin Hart attached to star and produce through his Hartbeat Productions company along with Will Packer. The studio bought a pitch by Aeysha Carr, who will write the script in which a hit man’s assigned target turns out to be a surprise. Carr is a supervising producer and a writer on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Packer has a first-look deal at Universal. He’s worked with Hart on the “Ride Along” and “Think Like A Man” franchises. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Realize Productions has signed a domestic distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures to the thriller “Days of Power” with a Feb. 20 VOD/digital »

- Dave McNary

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

19 hours 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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Golden Globes Go Heavy on Adaptation Nominations in TV but Not Film

50 minutes ago

In a world of 500 scripted television series, one way creators are vying for the very limited attention of the audience — and to attract big-name talent — is by adapting already well-known works. Rather than having to start from the ground up when it comes to building the world, creating its characters and hooking viewers, adaptations come with a lot of the work already done. And with less risk, the rewards that are reaped automatically look that much bigger.

“It’s a massive draw because you have so much more information than you do when you just have a pilot script or a couple of episodes or even a full season. With the book, the format is so totally different [and] you have the ability to describe and develop and have so much character backstory, so it’s rife with things to help you bring these characters to life and tell the story really thoroughly,” says [link=nm »

- Danielle Turchiano

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First-Time Director Michael Gracey on Working With Hugh Jackman on ‘The Greatest Showman’

1 hour ago

For first-time director Michael Gracey, transitioning from commercials and music videos to feature-length films was “the difference between sprinting and a marathon.” The Aussie got his start working in visual effects but developed a knack for directing after working on music video “Karma” by 1200 Techniques. He combines his talents for musical biopic “The Greatest Showman.”

How did you start in visual effects?

Classically, it’s the child who looks up at their parents who says, “This is how the future is going to be,” and it’s the parents who don’t understand because they’re set in their ways. For me, it was the exact opposite. My dad sat me down at an Ibm At with a black screen and green text and said, “This is going to change the way that all image making is done in the future.” I looked up at him, the classic teenager, and said, “Yeah, Dad, everyone »

- Matt Fernandez

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Will Disney’s Hyperdrive ‘Star Wars’ Release Slate Put the Franchise at Risk?

1 hour ago

Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which premieres this weekend, is the third Lucasfilm title to hit theaters in the span of two years. It emerges as an important test of whether the studio’s aggressive release schedule will diminish the specialness for which the storied franchise has long been known.

Until 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars” movies arrived infrequently and were treated as major cultural events. Kids skipped school and braved long lines to fill multiplexes. The films were spaced three years apart, building anticipation in between pictures. Even the poorly reviewed prequel trilogy, starting with “The Phantom Menace” in 1999, had three-year gaps; “Phantom Menace” came 16 years after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” “The Force Awakens” bowed 10 years after “Revenge of the Sith,” the last of the prequels.

Now, Disney plans to release a new “Star Wars” film every year through at least 2019. “The Last Jedi” will be followed next May by “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” the »

- Ricardo Lopez

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Playback: Rian Johnson on ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and Thriving Within Lucasfilm

1 hour ago

Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is set for release Dec. 15. You might have heard of it. The reinvigorated Lucasfilm franchise continues to be an annual event, not just in the film space but, certainly, in consumer and popular culture. Amid all that machinery, at the center of the latest installment, is 43-year-old Rian Johnson, an indie filmmaker who really showed what he was capable of with the 2012 sci-fi film “Looper.”

(Note: There are No Spoilers in this podcast. Feel free to listen and enjoy without fear of having any of the new film’s secrets ruined.)

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.

Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”

Principle photography for “The Force Awakens” kicked off in February of 2016, in the immediate wake of the near-billion-dollar crater the film »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Tina Fey, Robert Carlock to Be Honored by Writers Guild of America East

1 hour ago

Tina Fey and Robert Carlock will receive the Writers Guild of America East’s Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence.

The duo will be honored at the 70th Annual Writers Guild Awards at New York’s Edison Ballroom on Feb. 11. The WGA East gives the award to writers “who embody the spirit, commitment, and comic genius of Mr. Sargent, as well as his dedication to mentoring new writers.”

Sargent served as president of the WGA East for 14 years and his credits include being a writer/producer of “Saturday Night Live” for more than 20 years. The Sargent Award has previously been presented to Judd Apatow, Steve O’Donnell, Gary David Goldberg, Norman Stiles, Lorne Michaels, and James L. Brooks.

“We are honored to accept the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence,” Fey and Carlock said. “This is particularly meaningful for us as Herb created ‘Weekend Update,’ which is where we first worked together in the late ’90s. Like »

- Dave McNary

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Why the Fox-Disney Deal Could be Bad for Movies

2 hours ago

Disney is poised to swallow up Fox’s film and television assets, a move that will dramatically reshape the landscape of Hollywood, while making it increasingly difficult for producers and directors to find a home for movies that don’t fit into a comic book box or fantasy mold.

Creative types are looking at the $60 billion-plus deal with dread, dismayed that Fox, a studio that has backed a number of risky dramas and comedies for adults in recent years, is about to be absorbed into the Magic Kingdom — a creative fiefdom that scrubs movies of their edge. In recent years, Disney has been almost exclusively interested in making superhero films, animated adventures, and Star Wars sequels and spin-offs. In particular, the company is no longer interested in releasing anything rated R. Disney will most likely allow Fox’s film studio to continue to operate with some autonomy and to continue making movies for adults. But most industry »

- Brent Lang and Ricardo Lopez

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Fox Founder Rupert Murdoch Insists Disney Deal Is Not a ‘Retreat’

3 hours ago

Rupert Murdoch spent decades cobbling together a media empire.

On Thursday, the octogenarian mogul announced plans to sell his film studio and much of his entertainment assets to Disney in a $52.4 billion mega-deal. The hope is that the combined companies will give Disney the kind of sprawling library of hit movies and shows it needs to compete with digital giants such as Netflix and Apple. On a conference call with investors and analysts shortly after the pact was announced, Murdoch was adamant that the sale does not signal a surrender.

“I know a lot of you are wondering why did the Murdochs come to such a momentous decision?” he said. “Are we retreating? Absolutely not. We are pivoting at a pivotal moment.”

Murdoch added, “we are paving the way for a new Fox and a transformed Disney to chart a course across a broad frontier of opportunity.”

As part of the deal, Fox shareholders »

- Brent Lang

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‘Father Figures’ Premiere Raises Funds for Southern California Wildfire Victims

3 hours ago

The real world intruded a bit on the world premiere of “Father Figures” at the Tcl Chinese in Hollywood on Wednesday. On the red carpet, producer Ivan Reitman made a pitch for funds to help victims of the Thomas Fire. Earlier in the week, he and his family were forced to evacuate their Montecito home.

“I’m very thankful to the firefighters [so] that we escaped fire damage,” he said before the film, starring Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, screened.

For “Father Figures” screenwriter Justin Malen, the premiere culminated close to a decade of work. He recalls that part of the original story was inspired by his grandmother taking him to see “Basic Instinct” in 1992.

“She would only see R-rated movies because any other movie would eventually wind up free on television,” Malen said. “A lot of the idea for this movie was me looking at old photos of my parents and realizing that things were not as »

- Dave McNary

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Will Smith Discusses ‘Bright’s’ Racial, Social, Allegorical Undertones

5 hours ago

Bright” may not be hitting theaters as a traditional release, but many of the film’s stars turned out to see the movie the old-fashioned way at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood on Wednesday night.

The David Ayer-directed sci-fi pic represents Netflix’s first big-budget foray into the original film arena, and plenty of the filmmakers and talent behind “Bright,” including lead actor Will Smith, commented on Netflix’s influence at the world premiere.

“What’s great about working with Netflix is that this is the type of movie you couldn’t really make anywhere else,” Smith said. “It’s an R-rated, violent, $100 million dollar movie … no other studio is making that.”

Smith plays Daryl Ward, a human cop from an alternate universe where fantasy creatures such as elves and orcs live side by side, but not so much in harmony. Smith revealed that his character is “a black police officer that’s racist against »

- Will Thorne

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‘Hunting Season’ Takes Top Prize at Macao Festival

5 hours ago

Hunting Season,” by Argentinian first-time feature director Natalia Garagiola was named as best film at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. France’s Xavier Legrand was named best director for domestic terrorism thriller “Custody.”

Prizes were handed out Thursday evening at Macau’s Cultural Centre, in front of a crowd that mixed local dignitaries, Hong Kong movie folk and a high-profile international contingent of film makers, industry executives, and festival programmers.

The prizes were decided on by a jury headed by France’s Laurent Cantet. The judging panel also included actress Joan Chen, writer-director Joan Chen, novelist Lawrence Osborne, and director Royston Tan.

The jury chose “Hunting Season” for its “fluid style and construction… the precision of its directing .. and for the quality of its acting,” Cantet said. “The film deals with subjects both difficult and delicate : mourning for a mother’s death, the reconciliation between estranged fathers and sons, the loneliness »

- Patrick Frater

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Disney-Fox Will Be Global Powerhouse, Especially in Asia and Europe

5 hours ago

Disney’s hookup with 21st Century Fox will create not just an American behemoth but a global one, with powerful film and television assets throughout Asia and Europe in particular. That kind of reach is all the more important as international revenue increasingly becomes a sine qua non for Hollywood.

Across the Atlantic, the marriage will create an entertainment giant that owns a raft of channels and premium content, plus a partial – and potentially full – stake in pan-European pay-tv service Sky. Across the Pacific, the new entity will no doubt seek to exploit the two companies’ complementary strengths – Disney in film and Fox in TV – and minimize the areas where they currently compete.


Disney is significantly stronger than Fox with regard to feature films in the region. Its Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm franchises have delivered time and again with Asian audiences who love large-scale, action-filled and fantasy-heavy tentpoles, and its family fare seems tailor-made for the »

- Patrick Frater and Stewart Clarke

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Fantastic Four, X-Men Can Team With Avengers Thanks to Fox, Disney Deal

6 hours ago

Disney’s $52.4 billion agreement to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is good news for fanboys and fangirls.

The company was quick to tout that the pact “provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.” In other words, that means that Wolverine and Iron Man could soon be teaming up to save the world from alien invaders looking for new worlds to exploit, Nazi scientists shaking off the after-effects of a long cryogenic freeze, or whatever fresh planetary threat that Kevin Feige, dean of all thing McU, can concoct.

In a call with investors and analysts shortly after the deal was unveiled, Disney chief Bob Iger referenced those possibilities by saying, “Bringing Disney and Fox together will combine some of the world’s most iconic entertainment franchises »

- Brent Lang

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Mica: Mexico’s Film Tank Pitches to the Small Screen with Genre Thriller ‘Dead Days’

8 hours ago

Film Tank, one of Mexico’s most prominent independent production companies behind hits “Northless” and “The Maid,” will be enlisting years of big-screen experience in a move to TV with their latest project in development, a high-concept genre thriller titled “Dead Days.”

Film Tank CEO and producer Edgar San Juan pitched the idea at Mexico City’s 2nd Mercado e Industria de Cine y el Audiovisual (Mica).

The company’s catalog is loaded with high-end content which has received both critical and audience acclaim. In 2009 they produced Rigoberto Pérezcano’s, first fiction feature, “Northless,” which won the Knf Award at Rotterdam, as well as Casa de América and Films in Progress awards at San Sebastian. That same year the company also co-produced on one of Latin America’s greatest critical successes, Sebastián Silva’s debut movie “The Maid,” which received a Golden Globe nomination as well as awards at Sundance, Torino and Miami. »

- Jamie Lang

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Asian Brilliant Stars Take Wider Perspective for Second Edition

8 hours ago

“Youth,” “Wolf Warriors 2,” “Dangal,” and “Bad Genius” are among the prominent film titles that will compete for the Asian Brilliant Stars awards. The prizes will be announced in February in Berlin.

The Awards’ launch event in Beijing on Tuesday took on a interesting political tinge with one of the jurors criticizing China’s restrictions on freedom of expression, and the government’s clampdown on cultural relations with South Korea.

“Foreign prizes are much more likely to go to Japanese or Korean films, many of which are dark, about sex and violence, or the coldness of human nature,” said jury member Manfred Wong told Agence France Presse. “But because of China’s censorship system, there simply aren’t those kinds of films here,” he explained, stating no jury wanted to reward “warm movies full of positive energy”.

The awards will be decided by a jury including Wong, producer and former president of Hong Kong Film Awards; controversial Korean »

- Patrick Frater

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Australian Animation ‘Arkie’ Sold to Vision for China Release

11 hours ago

Australian-Canadian animated feature “Arkie” has been acquired by Vision Film Entertainment for distribution in China. Vision says it expects to release the film in 10,000 Chinese theaters.

The story is a fantastical adventure about an inquisitive young girl who leaves home for an epic journey to the dangerous metropolis where she needs to rescue her father from the clutches of a mysterious doctor. The English-language voice cast is headed by Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars”) as Arkie, and Jai Courtney (“Divergent”) as Dr. Maybee, and also includes Internet star Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor.

The film is directed by Luke Jurevicius, adapted from a graphic novel created by his brother, artist Nathan Jurevicius (“Scarygirl”). Production is by Passion Pictures Australia and Canada’s Nitrogen Studios, with Australia’s Luma handling animation. The producer credit goes to Sophie Byrne and executive producer status for John Stevenson (“Kung Fu Panda”). Sydney-based Odin’s Eye Entertainment is handling international rights »

- Patrick Frater

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