News & Updates
December 16, 2018
Don Mancini, who created the creepy-doll franchise that introduced us to Chucky, is angry about the upcoming “Child’s Play” reboot. Despite writing all seven films to date and directing the last three, Mancini has no involvement with the remake starring Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry.
“Obviously my feelings were hurt,” he said during an appearance on the Post Mortem podcast, per Flickering Myth. “You know, I had just done two movies…forgive me if I sound defensive, [they] were both at 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though they didn’t get theatrical releases, they were well regarded. And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three fucking decades.”
Making the situation more difficult for him is the fact that his own version of the series hasn’t actually ended. “It was hard not to feel like I was being patronized. They just wanted our approval, which I strenuously denied them,” said Mancini.
The studio asked if he and producer David Kirschner wanted to be executive producers on the film: “We said, ‘No thank you,’ because we have our ongoing thriving business with Chucky… I hesitate to say too much about it because I don’t want to sound like I’m belly-aching too much. But the producers of that movie are the producers of ‘It.’ How would they feel if there was some legal loophole that allowed David Kirschner and I to swoop in and make our own ‘It’ movie with our own version of Pennywise and say, ‘Hey guys, we would love to put your names on it?’ I imagine they wouldn’t like it.”
With that in mind, it’s about more than just money for Mancini. “That’s how I feel. The people who are making that movie, they don’t know how that’s going to affect my livelihood. It’s not just a paycheck. It’s very personal. MGM’s screwing with that…potentially.”
Source: IndieWire film
December 16, 2018
Launching new specialized films on this pre-Christmas weekend is always tricky, even when there isn’t a new “Star Wars” opening. Even so, Annapurna’s James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk,” the acclaimed awards contender starring frontrunner Supporting Actress Regina King, delivered a strong initial platform debut in two cities.
Steady as they go: the second weekend expansion of “Mary, Queen of Scots” (Focus) and continued strong showings for “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight) and “Green Book” (Universal).
Next weekend will also be a challenge, but so far multiple films are successfully positioning themselves to benefit from the holidays ahead.
If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: Toronto, New York 2018
$219,173 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $54,793
Barry Jenkins’ first film since his Oscar winning “Moonlight” had a strong initial showing in four prime New York/Los Angeles theaters, boosted by several Q & As. This would be an impressive platform opening at any time, especially this competitive pre-Christmas date.
The numbers are about half of the “Moonlight” opening in October 2016, but that film debuted in a specialized vacuum on a prime moviegoing date. “Beale Street” performed about 50 percent better than “Fences” on much the same weekend two years ago. That title, also based on an acclaimed piece of original material, boasted Broadway Tony-winners Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and went on to considerable Oscar attention and an almost $60 million gross.
Annapurna took flak for its late date change. They sought to maximize attention, and they got it. The gross justifies the change, as they are positioned to move into 70 theaters this weekend in a mix of specialized and urban locations, before escalating their release pattern for three weeks starting January 4.
What comes next: The date change guarantees this will move with momentum toward its next stage of holiday play.
Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2018
$27,588 in 3 theaters; PTA: $9,196
Lebanon’s Oscar Foreign Language contender, considered a leader since its debut at Cannes, opened on a tricky pre-Christmas date in three appropriate New York/Los Angeles theaters. Nadine Labaki’s heart-tugger about a young runaway trying to survive in Beirut debuts at a time when two of its competitors — “Roma” and “Shoplifters” — have already earned better reviews and strong audience response. Saturday enjoyed a decent uptick, suggesting strong word of mouth, which is critical for its future. The drama opened better than Labaki’s earlier releases including “Caramel.” The most relevant comparison is SPC’s Oscar-winner “Son of Saul” three years ago, which opened in three similar theaters to around $13,000.
What comes next: This expands in the Los Angeles area and opens in San Francisco next week, with most other markets opening next month and after.
The House That Jack Built (IFC) – Metacritic: 40; Festivals include: Cannes 2018; also streaming
$40,436 in 33 theaters; PTA: $1,225; Cumulative: $933,744
Parallel to its debut on streaming venues, Lars von Trier’s divisive serial killer film starring Matt Dillon opened in a one-minute shortened R-rated version after a recent one day unrated presentation. As planned, from now on the primary audience will be at home. IFC parlayed the controversy with the MPAA over the two versions to gain some extra attention.
What comes next: An alternative for Christmas fare for millions of viewers is a quick purchase away.
Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (GKids) – Metacritic: 64
$8,045 in 4 theaters; PTA: $2,011; Cumulative: $67,416
Boosted by Thursday special event showings, this documentary on the legendary Japanese animated director continued to modest results in four locations for the weekend. This short (70 minute) film was originally made for Japanese TV.
What comes next: Its subject guarantees it will have interest ahead, but most will likely be outside of theaters.
Mary, Queen of Scots (Focus)
$700,000 in 66 theaters (+62); PTA: $10,607; Cumulative: $963,000
The Saorise Ronan/Margot Robbie version of the rivalry between Mary and Elizabeth I went nationwide to about three-quarters of the numbers for Focus last year for its successful “Darkest Hour.” With muted reviews and awards prospects, this continues to exhibit core audience appeal with a quick jump to 700 theaters this weekend.
Vox Lux (Neon)
$244,000 in 325 theaters (+19); PTA: $751,000; Cumulative: $433,211
After some decent initial platform numbers, this quick expansion to large cities and wide suburban play failed to reach an audience. The rock world similarities to “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” hurt the film, despite a bravura performance by Natalie Portman, along with mixed reviews. The pre-Christmas date allowed for maximum access to prime theaters, but it’s tough for most films to register this time of year.
Ben Is Back (Roadside Attractions)
$145,543 in 29 theaters (+25); PTA: $5,018; Cumulative: $246,867
The seasonal downturn reduces any film’s potential response, along with stiff competition from several other strong adult-oriented titles. That’s the context for the big city expansion for Peter Hedges’ prodigal drug-using child drama co-starring his real life son Lucas and Julia Roberts. The Saturday increase suggests some decent initial interest, crucial as the film hopes to get into position for prime holiday play ahead.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)
Green Book (Universal) Week 5
$2,780,000 in 1,215 theaters (+34); Cumulative: $24,660,000
Universal’s dicey release pattern for Peter Farrelly’s audience-friendly 1960s Southern road trip story continues to show good results. On a weekend when even the best films are lucky if they drop 35 percent, this fell by under 30 and remained in the Top Ten. The grosses of many theaters look strong enough to justify holding over Christmas, with the plan to blast this out in many more theaters in mid-January at the time of the Oscar nominations.
The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 4
$2,570,000 in 439 theaters (+348); Cumulative: $6,740,000
Yorgos Lanthimos’ English royal court comedy continues to show significant strength, particularly for this time of year, as it widens nationally. Its adult audience is likely to turn up in droves on Christmas Day. By then the film will already have reached close to $9 million. All signs point to positive audience reaction, which will boost its strong awards expectations ahead. The numbers continue in the same general range of such past year contenders as “Darkest Hour” and “Manchester By the Sea.” This expands to around 800 theaters this Friday.
Roma (Netflix) Week 4; also streaming
$(est.) 362,000 in (est.) 145 theaters (+45); Cumulative: $(est.) 1,400,000
As Alfonso Cuarón’s award-winning film debuted on Netflix, it expanded further, though still in limited theaters–most top chains still refuse to book the film. Guessing the gross remains a challenge. Some top theaters with easy view of ticket sales are now on reduced seating and sell out early most days. Nearly all of last week’s screens held over, which suggests strength.
How many theaters will continue as competition for screens becomes much more intense in the next two weeks will determine how far this goes. $2 million or more would be impressive for any subtitled specialized release these days. Clearly there is significant interest in seeing the film on a big screen, despite near universal awareness of its Netflix availability. The streamer has mounted a successful campaign to elevate “Roma” as a legitimate awards contender.
A couple of what may be a series of 70mm dates have been announced for January. Chicago’s Music Box will play it from the 9th-13th, while a more limited play will be seen as part of a Golden Globe Foreign Language nominee program at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA.
At Eternity’s Gate (CBS) Week 5
$188,000 in 178 theaters (+4); Cumulative: $1,446,000
The release a few weeks ago of Julian Schnabel’s retelling of Vincent van Gogh’s time in Arles was timed to enhance attention for Willem Dafoe’s performance. Mission accomplished with two key nominations so far, although the public response so far has been modest.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 9
$140,000 in 166 theaters (-99); Cumulative: $7,265,000
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant both have awards traction firmly established. Their positions have been greatly buttressed by Searchlight’s successful positioning of this film during the fall season.
Anna and the Apocalypse (Orion) Week 3
$135,988 in 138 theaters (+92); Cumulative: $413,683
Tepid wider response to this Christmas-themed Scottish vampire tale which is positioned for cult possibilities going forward.
Free Solo (Greenwich) Week 12
$132,020 in 100 theaters (-82); Cumulative: $10,794,000
National Geographic’s documentary about an amazing athletic feat has become a marathon run after nearing three months of successful release.
Shoplifters (Magnolia) Week 4
$(est.) 105,000 in 37 theaters (+1); Cumulative: $(est.) $557,000
This Japanese family story about sympathetic criminals is quietly amassing an impressive initial total. Its reviews so far have been just below those of “Roma.” With more awards attention ahead, the holidays, and further expansion, the top Cannes prize winner could be one of the rare art house foreign language titles these days to approach or even exceed $2 million.
Boy Erased (Focus) Week 7
$85,000 in 173 theaters (-449); Cumulative: $6,600,000
The next to final dates for this gay-conversion themed drama directed by Joel Edgerton bring this closer to a $7 million total.
Beautiful Boy (Amazon) – $32,896 in 88 theaters; Cumulative: $7,520,000
Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) – $23,584 in 62 theaters; Cumulative: $1,140,000
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) – $21,928 in 67 theaters; Cumulative: $8,153,000
A Private War (Aviron) – $14,000 in 50 theaters; Cumulative: $1,598,000
Source: IndieWire film
December 16, 2018
According to the UK Cinema Association, 2018 will end with 176 million admissions on the other side of the pond — six million more than last year, and the highest number since 1970. The reason is unsurprising: blockbusters, more than eight of which brought in more than £40 million (roughly $50 million) at the UK box office. “There has been a really strong film slate with a diversity of films performing well,” the UK Cinema Association’s Phil Clapp told Sky News.
“Probably one of the reasons why admissions have been higher than they have been is because we’ve been pulling in audiences from a broad range of places,” said Clapp. “It’s something new in the community. We also see cinemas acting as a space for more than just films, and cinemas are catering for this with events like accessible or parent-and-baby screenings.”
20th Century Fox
Among the most successful films in the UK this year were “Black Panther,” “The Greatest Showman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and even “Peter Rabbit.” The overall box-office take is expected to be as high as £1.35 billion when all is said and done, or the equivalent of just under $1.7 billion, with an average ticket price of £7.
The numbers are considerably higher in America, with a population nearly six times higher: “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” combined for nearly $1.4 billion domestically, followed by “Incredibles 2” ($608 million), “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” ($416 million), and “Deadpool 2” ($318 million). According to Box Office Mojo, the current total for all movies in 2018 stands at $10.16 billion.
Source: IndieWire film
December 16, 2018
As anyone who’s seen “Roma” has already told you, the best way to watch Alfonso Cuarón’s wrenching drama is in a movie theater. If that’s not possible, fret not: The acclaimed film made its Netflix premiere this weekend, allowing you to take in the crisp black-and-white cinematography and absorbing narrative from the comfort of your own home. Before you do that, consult this guide on the best practices for viewing the movie on your TV.
The first few rules are fairly simple and common — turn off motion smoothing or interpolation, set your color temperature to “normal,” and enable HDR. Motion smoothing is anathema among filmmakers and cinephiles (including Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie), making that one no surprise.
However, the guide’s rationale for the temperature setting is of note: “‘Warm’ color temperature can make the film appear tinted sepia or yellow. When set to ‘cool’ the film can appear overly blue.” Both outcomes are best avoided, especially given the black-and-white aesthetic.
Picture mode: Cinema or Movie (NOT Sports, Vivid, Dynamic etc)
Sharpness: 0% (This is the most crucial one to set to zero — although Sony sometimes uses 50% for the “off” setting, confusingly. If the image becomes blurry at 0%, try 50%)
Backlight: Whatever is comfortable, but usually at 100% for daytime use. Adjusting this will not deteriorate picture quality.
Gamma: 2.2 (or 0 if the TV doesn’t have it in a range of 1.8-2.9 but uses whole numbers instead)
Tint (G/R): 50%
“Roma” has won top prizes from the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association in addition to receiving three Golden Globe nominations. It has also been chosen as Mexico’s entry for the Academy Awards, and the nine-film shortlist will be announced tomorrow.
Source: IndieWire film
December 15, 2018
“Vox Lux” isn’t a musical, but it certainly is musical. Brady Corbet’s pop-star drama stars Natalie Portman as a singer who’s been compared to everyone from Lady Gaga to Kanye West, though the actual score comes courtesy of Scott Walker (who also worked on Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader”) with original songs by Sia. Like the film itself, their collaboration is a memorable mix of catchy beats and dissonant tones — and can now be streamed on Spotify. Listen below.
The film begins with a Columbine-esque school shooting set in 1999, which Celeste (played by Raffey Cassidy as a child and Portman as an adult) survives despite suffering life-threatening injuries. She writes a song about her experience, launching an unexpected career that makes her a global superstar — so much so, in fact, that terrorists eventually carry out a shooting of their own while donning masks made famous by one of her music videos.
In my Venice Film Festival review, I wrote that “’Vox Lux’ doesn’t find any grand truths in its exploration of the nexus between pop superstardom and terrorism — how the one might inspire the other, how violence on a grand scale might be another way to get one’s name in lights — but that feels less like a failing and more like a reflection of its heroine’s fractured state of mind.”
“Vox Lux” arrived in theaters on December 7 courtesy of Neon. It made $155,714 in six theaters during its opening weekend and will expand wider in the weeks to come.
Source: IndieWire film
December 14, 2018
With 2000+ artists performing at SXSW each year, we have a large list of accomplished alumni that we take a lot of pride in. We are sharing holiday tunes from some of our favorite SXSW Music Festival alumni and 2019 Showcasing Artists to help spread the holiday cheer.
The playlist begins with recently released songs from 2019 artists Say Sue Me, Gurr, Superbody and The Beths. From there we dive into seasonal jams from alumni like She & Him, DRAM, and Courtney Barnett. Put on our SXSW Holiday Playlist and get busy making your gingerbread houses, throwing your holiday get-togethers, mixing up eggnog, or whatever you do to celebrate the season.
Explore the SXSW Music Festival
Want to hear more from SXSW Showcasing Artists? Listen to our official playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, surf through our playlist of music videos on YouTube, and listen to SXSWfm for radio shows of various styles including genre-focused and highlighted artists from each announcement. Once you’ve gotten a taste for what we’ve already programmed for 2019, read through our first and second announcements to get the full picture. Don’t worry though, we still have plenty of great artists to share with you in the new year.
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The post Get Into The Spirit with the SXSW Holiday Playlist appeared first on SXSW.
Source: SxSW Music
December 14, 2018
By now, you’ve probably seen or heard something about Netflix’s new movie, ‘Dumplin’.
The feel-good drama, Dumplin’, released on Netflix on Dec. 7, tells the story of 17-year-old Willowdean (played by PATTI CAKE$ breakout star Danielle Macdonald). She’s a big girl in a small Texas town where her mother Rosie (Jennifer Aniston) is a former pageant queen and something of a local celebrity.
At the story’s opening, Willowdean is mourning the death of her beloved aunt, who taught her confidence in the face of body-shaming bullies and also instilled a love of country music legend Dolly Parton. Willowdean and her best friend Ellen (Odeya Rush) rely on Parton’s uplifting songs and pithy life advice to get them through most of their teenage angst, including when they decide to join Rosie’s pageant as an act of protest against their town’s superficial and conservative values. The girls, joined by fellow misfits Millie (Maddie Baillio) and Hannah (Bex Taylor-Klaus), get some beauty-pageant help along the way from Dolly drag queens, all while delighting in the songstress’ music.
December 14, 2018
With advances in the AI and machine learning industry happening so rapidly, creators in this space seem to be innovating faster than the rules can keep up. In the Intelligent Future Track, we’re fascinated with these creators who are pushing the limits of the technology that aids us in our everyday lives. We want to know just how far these technologies can be pushed – but we also need to be asking ourselves when technology has gone too far.
Join us during the SXSW Conference from March 8-14 for our longest running, tech-focused track. We’ve pulled out sessions that look at the ethics of this constantly innovating field and ask: just because we can do something, should we?
Intelligent Future Session Highlights
Ethics and Responsibilities in the AI and IoT Age
As technology gets smarter, the chance for that smart tech to invade our privacy and for cybercriminals and governments to increasingly surveil us grows exponentially. As a Soviet citizen and AVAST Security Ambassador, Garry Kasparov knows how governments can misuse their citizen’s information. In this session, he will talk with Ondrej Vlcek, EVP and CTO of AVAST, about the ethics in the place where AI and security intersect. Where is the line, and how can regulators and industry leaders protect people’s privacy?
Taming the Orwellian Surveillance State
Police technology is becoming more advanced – they have the potential to be extremely invasive, but also the potential to increase safety and eliminate bias. As the new ethical implications of these technologies are debated, the members of the first AI & Policing Technology Ethics Board are here to discuss how to responsibly utilize these new technologies without violating citizen’s privacy. Join Cristian Farias, Writer-in-Residence of Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Barry Friedman, Director of The Policing Project at New York University School of Law, Tracy Ann Kosa, Fellow at Stanford University, and Rick Smith, CEO and Founder of Axon Enterprise as they discuss how these new technologies can eliminate bias and discrimination in the justice system without infringing on personal freedoms.
JFK 2020: Could JFK be the NEXT American President?
It’s unethical to bring the dead back to life – or is it? Rothco made the campaign – ‘JFK Unsilenced’ – which enabled JFK to deliver the speech he was on the way to make the day he was assassinated. If AI is able to bring back the voice of political leaders from the dead, can it also bring back their decision making, morals, and policies – and where does it end? Could the political leaders of the future be made entirely from AI? Just because we technically could, should we? Al Byrnes, Executive Producer of Rothco/Accenture Interactive, led the ‘JFK Unsilenced’ campaign and will be asking: how do we establish the rules for AI and how it influences decision making?
AI Proxies: How to Train Your Algorithm
In the future we will all be able to train our own personal AI – so what will you do with yours? Will you use it to reflect yourself, will you teach it to be a better version of yourself, or perhaps you make it in the image of someone else entirely. As we invest more decision-making into algorithms, we have to consider the power and control they will have over our lives. Aleksandra Szymanska, Art Director of The Future Laboratory will be leading a session that seeks to have participants consider if they could give something with its own agency this much power over their lives.
How to Build a Brighter AI Future
After all the sessions questioning the future of AI, take a moment and look at the positive applications the future can hold. Join Google’s Cassie Kozyrkov, Cheif Decision Scientist, in a session outlining how to harness the potential of machine learning and AI. She’ll strip away the jargon and teach participants the AI basics to avoid the biggest threats and how to spot emerging opportunities. She will also discuss the next discipline badgeholders should be utilizing to improve business: decision intelligence engineering. This beginner session is meant for anyone, so before you pick up the tin foil hat and research going off the grid, come learn the AI and machine learning basics.
Check out other Entrepreneurship & Startups sessions as well as other Keynotes and Featured Speakers like Bruce Sterling, Douglas Rushkoff, Jaron Lanier, Joanna Shields, and Charlie Duke, Gerry Griffin, Vanessa E. Wyche & Bobak Ferdowsi:
Enjoy primary access to all Intelligent Future Sessions as well as other Conference Sessions with a Platinum or Interactive Badge, and secondary access to most other events.
Crossover Track Recommendations
Learn more and unlock your badge’s full potential when you explore sessions on the other 25 Conference Tracks that relate back to Intelligent Future:
- The Future of AI in Blockchain | Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Track
- The Future of Robotics in Logistics | Entrepreneurship & Startups Track
- The Future of Wellbeing with Ubiquitous Sensing | Future Workplace Track
- Dear Gov’t: Regulate Us! Sincerely, AI Industry | Tech Industry & Enterprise Track
- Reach Out and Touch Space | Experiential Storytelling Track
- AI and the Future of Journalism | Media & Journalism Track
- Adaptive Athletics: The Rise of the Super Athlete | Sports Track
- Ethics in the Age of Virtual Humans | VR/AR/MR Track
Attend SXSW 2019
Get your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to attend SXSW 2019 and experience these Conference sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX.
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Featured Image by Holly Jee
Source: SxSW Interactive
December 14, 2018
Did these books also creep you out as a kid?
When production on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a horror anthology film based on a series of terrifying children’s books by Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell, was announced earlier this year, fans of the popular series were understandably enthused.
When horror wunderkind Guillermo Del Toro joined as co-writer and producer, that enthusiasm jumped to pure excitement. And now, a release date has been set.
December 14, 2018
An exciting and zany Spider-man movie that’s actually great?! Sign me up.
If you haven’t seen Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse yet, then you’re missing out. This is a nuanced story about life, family, role models, growing up, and making friends. The action is beautiful, engaging, and carries the movie into the “instant classic” spectrum.
But how did we get here?
When I saw the trailer for this movie months ago, I was worried. It looks like it had a ton of characters, could be unfocused, and I was terrified the action would be choppy.
None of this is true.
First off, the movie balances its characters by focusing in on Miles Morales. As we get to know Miles, we slowly get to know the people from the extended universes. This slow build gives us time to learn and love everything about these people. And to identify with Miles’ struggles. He’s a great protagonist.