Friday, September 4, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 10:16 AM
November 1946: The audience at the Paramount 25 Year Club party. (Photo by George Konig/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

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.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 10:03 AM
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Director Ava DuVernay attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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. 

POSTED: Monday, January 12, 2015, 1:50 PM
Filed Under: Movies
#SelmaforStudents was spearheaded by a group of African-American business owners who created a fund to send 27,000 New York City students to see the film gratis.

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.

POSTED: Saturday, January 10, 2015, 7:30 AM
Filed Under: Movies
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.
Did 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.

POSTED: Thursday, January 8, 2015, 9:42 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Those looking forward to the impending release of "Fifty Shades of Grey" are likely to see the film for its sexy scenes, hot stars and... "unusual behavior"?

The MPAA has deemed "the strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity" worthy of an R rating -- although readers of the racy book might wonder how it's possible to depict most of the action without getting closer to an NC-17 rating. Based on E. L. James' risque bestselling romance novel, the film has a built-in fanbase of devotees.

Jamie Dornan, who co-stars in the film opposite Dakota Johnson, told GQ magazine that he researched the role of Christian Grey by going to sex dungeons and reading about bondage and BDSM.

POSTED: Thursday, January 8, 2015, 9:22 AM

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Walter works at the movie theater in a small town, where he believes he's the son of God, tasked by the Man upstairs with deciding whether those around him are going to heaven or hell. Whether audiences are also willing to believe this original, if somewhat half-baked premise is another question entirely. While "Walter" harks back to so many stylized '90s-era indies -- and conceivably might have played a festival like Sundance had it been made two decades earlier -- these days, such an overly cutesy, credibility-straining dramedy is fated to disappear into VOD purgatory, following its modest theatrical release in March. 

Crafted with equal doses of poignancy and pap, Paul Shoulberg's screenplay (expanded from his 2010 short, directed by someone else entirely) caught the eye of first-time helmer Anna Mastro, who embraces the sincerity at the script's core, but doesn't quite know how to handle its more offbeat sense of magical realism. How, exactly, does anyone take its weird conceit seriously?

Affectlessly played by the otherwise affable Andrew J. West (Gareth of "Walking Dead"), the story's protagonist is a clean-cut, blank-faced, slightly obsessive-compulsive white boy named (what else?) Walter. Except in the real world, hardly anyone calls their kids that anymore. (To quote Esquire magazine, "the word looks like the chicken skin of an old man's calf.")

POSTED: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 4:03 PM
Filed Under: Movies
From left, Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher in 'Whiplash.' (Daniel McFadden/Sony Pictures/MCT)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Independent films "Boyhood" and "Whiplash" as well as superhero blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy" received Writers Guild Awards nominations on Wednesday in one of Hollywood's top annual honors. 

"Boyhood," a coming-of-age chronicle and early Academy Award best picture favorite, earned a nod for best original screenplay for director Richard Linklater from the Writers Guild of America.

The movie, which Linklater filmed over a dozen years, will vie against wresting biopic "Foxcatcher" by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, as well as jazz drummer tale "Whiplash" by director Damien Chazelle. 

POSTED: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 1:39 PM
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 7: Parents Richard and Elizabeth Jones attend a memorial for their daughter Sarah Jones, an assistant camerawoman who was killed by a train while shooting the Gregg Allman biopic film, Midnight Rider, on March 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - A judge in Chatham County, Ga., has denied CSX Transportation's effort to restrict the further dissemination of a Feb. 20 video of the accident on the set of "Midnight Rider."

Judge Gregory Sapp issued his order on Tuesday, according to the Chatham Court website. 

The video -- taken from a CSX train that came unexpectedly as filmmakers were shooting on the tracks near Jesup, Ga. -- already has been shown on ABC News' "20/20." 

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Consider our Movies blog your essential guide to new movies and classics, interviews with filmmakers and stars, news and views on the latest screen trends, reviews and the occasional rant.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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