LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The National Association of Theater Owners has issued its first public statement about "The Interview," asserting that Sony will lose at least $30 million on the comedy.
Despite widespread predictions of a new business model, NATO VP Patrick Corcoran also said the movie's day-and-date release in theaters and on VOD is not a game-changer.
In a column titled "The Imitation Game: The Interview's Simultaneous Release Doesn't Change Anything" for Box Office magazine, Corcoran dismissed "starry-eyed" comments of a paradigm shift. Box Office is an official NATO publication.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - 20th Century Fox has tapped Jennifer Lawrence to star in biopic "The Dive," with her "Hunger Games" helmer, Francis Lawrence, set to direct.
James Cameron will produce through his Lightstorm Entertainment banner along with Rae Sanchini and Barry Josephson.
Dana Stevens penned the script.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" has expanded impressively with $5.3 million from Thursday night shows in the U.S. on the heels of receiving six Oscar nominations.
Warner Bros. reported that "American Sniper," which began showing at 7 p.m., was performing strongly in all markets and is expected to become the biggest opening of Eastwood's career.
Universal's cyber-terrorist tale "Blackhat" opened modestly by comparison with $179,000 at late shows on Thursday in 1,755 theaters. Starring Chris Hemsworth ("Thor"), "Blackhat" is on pace to do a quiet $10 million from 2,567 theaters over the four-day weekend.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Focus Features is reviving Motley Crue biopic "The Dirt," which was set up nearly a decade ago at Paramount.
Jeff Tremaine will direct from a screenplay written by Rich Wilkes and Tom Kapinos based on the 2001 autobiography "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band" by band members Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx, along with author Neil Strauss.
Producers are Julie Yorn, Erik Olsen and Allen Kovac. Chris Nilsson, Steven Kline and Rick Yorn will exec produce, and the band members will co-produce.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The 87th Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning, and with it came a number of oddities, including triple nominees, first-timers and the inevitable extension of the reign of Meryl Streep. Below is a list of factoids from this year's Academy Award nominations:
-Meryl Streep extended her Oscar record with a 19th nomination, this time for "Into the Woods." The actors with the runner-up number of noms are Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson, who have 12 each.
-With "American Sniper," Bradley Cooper becomes the 22nd actor to earn three consecutive nominations. The last two were Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger. Bette Davis and Greer Garson hold the record, with five consecutives.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Moviegoers are already hot for "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Universal Pictures' bondage-flavored Valentine's Day gift to cinemas doesn't open for nearly a month, but is already the fastest selling R-rated title in Fandango history.
The online ticketer reports that the adaptation of E.L. James' steamy best-seller has supplanted "Sex and the City 2" for the honor. It's also outpacing other R-rated hits such as the second and third "Hangover" films and "Gone Girl."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Much has been made of "Birdman" director/co-writer Alejandro G. Inarritu's conceit of making a movie that seems to be one continuous, two-hour shot. The actual filming consisted of long takes edited to look seamless. Each sequence offered challenges, but the Times Square scene introduced special difficulties.
The scene: Actor Riggan (Michael Keaton), wearing only his underpants, gets locked out of Broadway's St. James theater and has to walk past gawking fans in Times Square to get to the theater's main entrance.
Logistical challenge: The production couldn't afford to shut down Times Square or populate it with paid extras, so it risked filming with real onlookers. "We worried about security," Inarritu says. Plus there was a fear someone would stare at the camera or walk into the scene. "There was no possibility to cut away if that happened" since it was one long take, the director notes. "If any scene in the film failed, I could not remove it or manipulate it. It had to be perfect."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The grassroots campaign to bring "Selma" to schoolchildren across the country free of charge is adding additional cities, organizers said Wednesday.
The Civil Rights drama about Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and the voting rights marches of 1965 will be made available for free to students in Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Oakland and the East Bay area and Washington, D.C.
The initiative was launched last week in New York by a group of African-American business leaders that includes former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, Essence Magazine founder Ed Lewis, BET Networks chairman Debra Lee and American Express chairman Ken Chenault.