Digital Tracking: ‘The Hobbit’s’ Five Armies to Plunder Box Office

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? Moviepilot – which studies social data and box office trends – analyzes this weekend’s new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is laid out in... Read more

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Sony Pictures’ Michael Lynton Thanks Employees for Work During ‘Incredibly Taxing’ Period

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

In a note before the holiday break, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton thanked studio employees for their work in the wake of the massive cyber-attack that forced the cancellation of “The Interview” release. “I am enormously grateful for all of the hard work you’ve done these last few weeks and know that it has... Read more

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Sony Rejected Theaters’ Proposal to Debut ‘The Interview’ in Limited Release

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

As threats of violence imperiled the Christmas debut of “The Interview,” Canadian exhibitor Cineplex and other U.S. chains urged Sony Pictures earlier this week to consider opening the comedy in roughly 20 theaters before releasing it more broadly. They believed the limited-release strategy could have helped the studio and theater owners assess if the hackers... Read more

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Academy’s Music Branch Still Wrestles With Rules Change

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Last year’s much-talked-about disqualification of a song nominee prompted rule changes for the 2014 Oscars, but they remain controversial for some of the Academy’s 240-member music branch. “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from a little-seen, faith-based film, was yanked from the 2013 competition when word leaked that its composer, former branch governor Bruce Broughton, had emailed... Read more

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Watch: First Trailer for Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart Comedy ‘Get Hard’

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for “Get Hard,” starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, three months before its March 27 release. Ferrell plays a successful businessman who is sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison for fraud, panics and hires the first African-American he meets to teach him how to “get... Read more

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Obama Administration Denies Advising on Decision to Pull ‘The Interview’

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

President Obama sat for an interview Friday with CNN and rebutted any notion that Sony Pictures consulted with the White House on pulling “The Interview” from theaters after the news channel aired excerpts of a separate interview in which the studio’s chairman, Michael Lynton, described reaching out to the Administration. In addition, a source close... Read more

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Directors & Their Troops: Jean-Marc Vallee on His ‘Wild’ Bunch

December 20, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Jean-Marc Vallee wanted “Wild” to reflect Cheryl Strayed’s book: not “pretty” but raw and real. “And how were we going to get this film as emotional as the book? I was scared. The book is so beautiful, with too many details for a two-hour film. We needed to have a experience that’s emotional, that’s powerful.”... Read more

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London-Based Secret Cinema Sets Screenings to Protest Pulling of “The Interview”

December 19, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

U.K.-based Secret Cinema, which stages events that combine live performances involving audience participation with the screening of a film, is staging a one-off Secret Screening in London on Sunday, Dec. 21, to protest the attack on “The Interview” by hackers and the subsequent pulling of the film from theaters by Sony Pictures. All proceeds from... Read more

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Craig Ferguson: Latenight’s Uniquely Intimate Host Signs Off, For Now

December 19, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

A year of big transitions in latenight TV comes to a close tonight with Craig Ferguson’s sign off of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.” The shuffle of talent and shows that will continue into next year has brought new comedic flair to the sturdy latenight talkshow format. But even with more variations on the latenight... Read more

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David Schurmann Advances on ‘Little Secret’ Shoot

December 19, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

MADRID – Brazilian film director David Schurmann is shooting “Little Secret,” inspired by the life of his adopted sister Kat Schurmann, written by Marcos Bernstein, scribe of Walter Salles’ Oscar-nominated “Central Station,” and one of the most ambitious and unusual fiction films to have moved this year into production in Brazil. Brazilians Julia Lemmertz (“My... Read more

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