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.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Fox has obtained the remake rights to John Carpenter's iconic "Escape From New York," starring Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken.
StudioCanal sold the rights to Fox, which topped several bids.
Carpenter will exec produce the remake. Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman's the Picture Company is also producing.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Americans haven't fallen out of love with movies, but they are losing patience with rising ticket prices.
Fifty three percent of moviegoers tell financial advisory firm PwC that the reason they don't see more movies is that it costs too much in theaters, while 30% say they prefer to watch them on their own schedule and 29% prefer to spend their money on other recreational activities.
For the first three quarters of 2014, the average ticket price was $8.12, according to information provided by the National Association of Theatre Owners. That's roughly in line with the full year average from 2013.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Hollywood's gender gap is growing wider.
"Selma" director Ava DuVernay and "Unbroken" director Angelina Jolie may be earning critical raves, awards and strong box office returns for the dramas they made last year, but female filmmakers remain the exception to the rule. Over the past 17 years, the number of women directing the top 250 grossing films declined by 2%, according to a new study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
It's a sign that some glass ceilings remain stubbornly in place, with women comprising 7% of directors on the biggest moneymakers. It's not just limited to directing. Behind the camera remains a male-dominated world, as well.
Layla A. Jones
Philadelphia is one of the eight new cities added to the #SelmaforStudents initiative, which allows students in 7th, 8th and 9th grade to see the new film “Selma” for free with a student ID or report card.
Initially launched in New York City, #SelmaforStudents was spearheaded by a group of African-American business owners who created a fund to send 27,000 students to see the film gratis. It began on Jan. 8 and sold out of tickets in the first weekend.
Led by Lydia Mallett of DuPont, local business leaders hope to raise $20,000 so 2,000 students can view the film for free. Other local business leaders involved include Henri Moore, Charisse Lillie, Les Brun, Shelley Stewart and Harold Epps.
Dave McNary, Variety.comDid the Golden Globes website accidentally announce Sunday’s best picture winners?
On Friday, the HFPA’s official website mistakenly displayed for a short time “Selma” and “Into The Woods” as the two top winners for the 72nd annual Golden Globes, which are set for Sunday night.
Tech company BlueFin took the blame for the error, asserting that it had been merely conducting “random” testing on the site, which for a short time on Friday had listed “Selma” as winner of best motion picture, drama, and “Into the Woods” as best motion picture, musical or comedy.