LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Comedy legend Billy Crystal says he's so proud of his return to primetime television with FX's "The Comedians," he wouldn't mind if he never made another movie.
"To be honest, this is a terrible thing to say," Crystal told Variety. "I am so happy doing this show, if I never made another movie, I'd feel bad, but not terrible, because at this point of my life and my career, I get everything I want in this show."
"I write a little bit, I produce a little bit, I have him," Crystal added, sitting next to his co-star Josh Gad. "I have an amazing cast. They're so good. They're so unbelievable. I just think that it's just like the perfect kind of thing right now."
It is now on pace to decimate records for the Martin Luther King holiday and for the month of January, pulling in roughly $105 million over the four-day period. It's also a new high-water mark for director Clint Eastwood, whose previous weekend record was the $29.5 million wide-release opening for 2008's "Gran Torino." At 84, he's still got it.
"The movie has become a cultural phenomenon," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. "It tore apart the record book and not by a little. By an enormous amount."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "American Sniper" is proving to be a lethal box office force.
Clint Eastwood's Iraq War drama grossed a spectacular $30.5 million on Friday. It looks to haul a record-breaking $80 million-plus this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, easily overtaking last year's "Ride Along," which launched to $41.5 million, as the highest-grossing January debut of all time.
The pic, which is expected to make more than $68 million by Sunday, is also obliterating Eastwood's previous opening record of $29.5 million for 2008's "Gran Torino."
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.