LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "American Sniper" has "Mockingjay" in its sights.
The war drama is poised to surpass the most recent edition of "The Hunger Games" as 2014's top-grossing release, analysts say. The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow pic has made $282.4 million thus far, putting it in third place on the charts, behind "Mockingjay -- Part 1," which has earned $335.7 million, and "Guardians of the Galaxy," which has grossed $333.2 million.
BoxOffice.com is now predicting that the film will generate $360 million-$365 million during its domestic run.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I," "Gone Girl" and "Maleficent" are powered by indelible female protagonists and rank among the biggest films of last year, but women are still treated like second-class citizens when it comes to most Hollywood movies, according to a new study.
They're the girlfriend, the mother or the wife. Their value is determined in relation to the people they bed, marry or birth.
The gender gap is documented in new research by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University that found that females comprised a paltry 12% of protagonists in the top-grossing films of 2014. Over the past decade, the situation has gotten worse, not better. The latest figures represent a drop of three percentage points from 2013 and a fall of four percentage points from 2002.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Peter Parker is returning to Marvel.
In a reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios that brings the popular superhero into the Marvel universe.
A new Spider-Man film will hit theaters on July 28, 2017.
Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling and Homeland's Morena Baccarin have emerged as the frontrunners to feature opposite Ryan Reynolds in the planned X-Men spin-off movie, Deadpool.
The Green Lantern star is preparing to reprise the role of the comic book killer, aka Wade Wilson, following his appearance in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and now producers are narrowing down their wishlist for the leading female part.
Teen Wolf actress Crystal Reed and The Red Band Society's Rebecca Rittenhouse are also in the mix, in addition to Vikings star Sarah Greene and Arrow's Jessica De Gouw, reports Deadline.com.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - For all the hard-knock headlines the NFL has faced lately, playing in the pros remains a dream career for many young men -- including the teen quartet chronicled in the verite doc "In Football We Trust." Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn's directorial debut focuses on a specific subculture drawn to the game: Polynesian-Americans, who -- per opening titles -- are 28 times more likely to play in the NFL than any other ethnic group. Engaging but perhaps more limited in its arc than the filmmakers might have hoped, the produced-for-public-television pic was acquired pre-Sundance by Relativity Sports, but will feel most at home on the smallscreen.
Docs rarely get more specific than this: Polynesian teens (two of them Mormon) playing high-school football in the Salt Lake City region. That provides the filmmakers a unique springboard, even if the individual sagas combine for something more akin to an intriguing novella than the full-blown great American epic of verite sports docs, Steve James' 1994 landmark "Hoop Dreams."
The most dramatically fruitful of the interwoven stories comes from brothers Leva and Vita Bloomfield, who both play for the same high school and hail from a family somewhat infamous in the area for their ties to a local gang, the Regulators. Their father, Fua, was also a gifted player in his prime before seeing his own dreams end at the college level due to "personal problems." The boisterous boys talk about hoping to prove people's preconceptions of their family wrong, but actions speak louder than words and their sibling bond is soon compromised by legal entanglements.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans should get their inner goddesses ready -- it's about to get "Darker."
Both sequels to E.L. James' racy mega-seller "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" -- are coming to film, said director Sam Taylor-Johnson. According to Cosmopolitan, Johnson made the announcement at a fan event at New York's Seigfeld Theatre with James and stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
The news doesn't come as too much of a shock. The racy pic is tracking to open at $60 million over its opening on Valentine's Day weekend, and online ticketing site Fandango said it's the fastest-selling R-rated title in the site's 15-year history.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - It's not often that Hollywood releases two major theatrical bombs on the same weekend. But that's exactly what happened when "Jupiter Ascending" and "Seventh Son" both crashed in U.S. theaters on Friday.
Warner Bros.' "Jupiter Ascending," starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, is quickly falling in box office estimates to a skimpy $18 million opening. With a budget of $175 million, the Wachowskis' sci-fi tentpole could lose tens of millions barring a dramatic turnaround overseas, in what could be the biggest flop of the year.
The forecast for Universal and Legendary's long-delayed "Seventh Son," starring Jeff Bridges, is just as gloomy. The pricey fantasy tentpole has a projected loss of $85 million, as Variety exclusively reported this week, despite earning $82 million at the international box office. It's on track for just $6 million in its U.S. debut.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Amy Pascal is stepping down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of its motion picture group.
She will remain at the studio as part of a new producing deal. Pascal will stay in place through May, at which point she will take the reins at her new venture.
No decision has been made on her replacement, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, but there is a deep bench on the Sony lot. Among her possible replacements from within the Sony ranks are former Fox studio chief Tom Rothman, who now runs TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad and Columbia Pictures Production President Michael De Luca.