Warner Bros. has apologized to Sony Pictures over a derogatory message about Sony’s “Foxcatcher” on a Twitter account, created by a consultant working for WB.
Warner Bros. has also fired the unidentified consultant.
The Twitter account “WB Digital” tweeted on Friday about Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz criticizing “Foxcatcher” director Bennett Miller over how Schultz was portrayed in the film. Channing Tatum portrays Mark Schultz and Mark Ruffalo portrays his brother Dave Schultz.
Maggie Lee, Variety.com
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Running out of kidnapped relatives for Liam Neeson's ex-CIA killing machine to rescue, scribes Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen turn him into a fugitive framed for murder in "Taken 3," that abandons chic European capitals for the character's own backyard. French director Olivier Megaton, who at least paced "Taken 2" with workmanlike efficiency, executes the pedestrian plot without a shred of tension or finesse. Opening in Hong Kong on New Year's Day, a week ahead of its U.S. bow, the Fox release will draw crowds simply because it's supposedly the last installment of the lucrative franchise, but they'll just be hostages to tedium.
In "Taken" (2008), helmed by Pierre Morel, Neeson's Los Angeles-based Bryan Mills went after Albanian slave traders who kidnapped his 17-year-old daughter in Paris. Made as a low-budget B-movie that sent up U.S. politics and values even as it emulated American genre films, it grossed $227 million worldwide. The sequel, made four years later, reversed the pattern by having the Albanians' vengeful relatives kidnap Mills and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). Despite the more elaborate action setpieces and heightened casualties, the premise remained just as basic and clear: The shocking way in which the hostages are taken, and the methodical manner in which the retired CIA agent tracked them, generated tremendous excitement.
Without someone to save, the concept of a race against time is seriously weakened. While family matters were kept short and sweet in the other two installments, "Taken 3" stretches out the kitchen-sink drama endlessly: Mills' daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), who was 17 when she was first kidnapped, is now a college student facing serious adult problems. Her dad, however, still believes that, after having hurled a few hand grenades and driven a stolen car through a shower of bullets, she'd still be content to play with a stuffed panda on her birthday.
Peter DebrugeLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - One of the most disappointing realities about 2014 was that as box office shrank compared to last year, independent films were often hit the hardest. Despite stellar reviews, even festival darlings like "Whiplash," "Foxcatcher," "The Skeleton Twins" and "Dear White People" each grossed less than $10 million domestically. Here are the 17 most underrated movies of 2014 that deserve a second look in the opinion of Variety's film critics and reporters.
Jake Gyllenhaal's biggest, most buzzed-about performance of 2014 may have been in "Nightcrawler," but his best work could be found in "Prisoners" director Denis Villeneuve's existential thriller about a mild-mannerded Toronto history professor who discovers he has a doppelganger in the form of a bad-boy bit-part movie actor. Virtually a solo -- make that dual -- performance piece, with Gyllenhaal playing most of his scenes opposite himself (and, in one case, a giant tarantula), this freewheeling mash-up of Davids Cronenberg and Lynch was a deliciously weird head-trip for the ages. -Scott Foundas
2. "Obvious Child"
The year's funniest indie comedy riffs on a subject even serious dramas tend to avoid: abortion. No wonder it ran into controversy in some corners. And yet, by being candid about the fact that its immature young protagonist has no intention of bringing the unplanned result of a one-night stand into the world, Gillian Robespierre's refreshingly honest romantic comedy earned its way into our hearts. And so, in super-talented standup Jenny Slate, a star was born. -Peter Debruge
By Variety Staff
The long-awaited "Beetlejuice" sequel may not be too far off, according to director Tim Burton.
While fans have been crossing their fingers for a "Beetlejuice 2" since the original debuted in 1988, the rumor mill began churning in earnest back in 2013, when Variety reported that Burton and star Michael Keaton were in talks to return to the property.
Earlier this year, Keaton confirmed that he and Burton had discussed the possibility, but that his involvement in any potential sequel was dependent on Burton signing on: "I've emailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff," the actor said. "I always said that's the one thing I'd like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another."
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Interview," the Sony Pictures film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opened in midnight screenings in a smattering of U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day, drawing moviegoers who said they supported the studio's decision to stand up to efforts to censor the low-budget comedy.
Seth Rogen, who co-stars in the film with James Franco, and co-director Evan Goldberg surprised patrons by appearing at the sold-out 12:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) screening of the movie at a theater in Los Angeles where they briefly thanked fans for their support.
The crowd outside the theater, holding cups of warm cider as they waited for the movie to begin, said they came to show their support for freedom of speech and freedom of choice.
Brent LangLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - President Barack Obama told CNN that North Korea's hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment is an act of "cyber vandalism," not an act of war.
Despite the tens of millions of dollars in damage to the studio's business operations and threats of violence, the president said he wished that Sony had not canceled the Christmas release of "The Interview."
"If we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber, a company's distribution chain or its products, and as a consequence we start censoring ourselves, that's a problem," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday's "State of the Union."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas release of "The Interview."
In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.
"Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale - all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like," the statement reads.
Maane KhatchatourianLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The actors who have played Batman on film generally fall in two camps: those who still regret their turn as the Caped Crusader and those who are forever proud. Michael Keaton seems to be among the latter group.
Unlike Christian Bale, who most recently portrayed the superhero in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, Keaton told the ShortList that he's not jealous that Ben Affleck will soon be donning the cape and cowl in "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice."
"No," he simply said when asked if he feels envious. "Do you know why? Because I'm Batman. I'm very secure in that."