December 5, 2013 |
"12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" became the best picture front-runners after flooring audiences at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, and little has changed in the ensuing weeks. Naturally, then, given their estimable craft, both movies are also leading the way in the director and cinematographer races. The key category to watch: original screenplay. If "Gravity's" outer-space tale of spiritual rebirth can land a nomination in that competitive group, it will signal the movie has the kind of broad appeal needed to carry it to a best picture win. Here's how the races for director, cinematography and original and adapted screenplay are shaping up on the eve of the L.A. unveiling of the season's final puzzle piece, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street.
August 24, 2013 |
Sony Pictures decided to abandon "Lee Daniels' The Butler," placing its 2013 summer bets on "White House Down" and "After Earth. " Think the studio wishes it now had made a different decision? "The Butler," whose financing was cobbled together by numerous investors and is distributed by the Weinstein Co., is continuing to dominate the box office and is certain to finish in first place in its second week of release, according to early numbers released Saturday. PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot moments The fact-based account of a black White House butler who served in eight presidential administrations is projected to gross as much as $16 million this weekend, easily surpassing the holdover "We're the Millers" and the new releases "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "The World's End" and "You're Next," none of which are performing strongly.
August 23, 2013 |
After the coffee. Before catching up with Affleck-as-Batman tweets. The Skinny: This weekend I'm headed to KCON, the K-pop convention here in Los Angeles, which should be quite an energetic scene. Today, I'll be bracing myself while listening to Neko Case's new album, streaming at NPR . Today's headlines include ESPN's exit from "Frontline's" documentary and our box office preview. Daily Dose: Discovery is calling for submissions. Discovery Channel U.S. and Discovery Networks International have launched a new $500,000 fund to invest in its next big programs from producers around the world.
July 16, 2013 |
In David Boies, the Weinstein Co. has a powerful weapon at its disposal in its legal fight with Warner Bros. over the title of race-themed pic “The Butler.” But on Tuesday it was touting a less well-known name: a Michigan teen named Katy Butler. Butler, as hard-core followers of goings-on in Weinsteinland will recall, was the young woman who in the spring of 2012 sponsored the Change.org petition in favor of lowering the rating for “Bully” from an R, citing bullying she's faced herself.
August 13, 2013 |
Oprah Winfrey has said that taking a role in "The Butler" -- her first big-screen turn in 15 years -- was a scary prospect. But after being engulfed by a media mob at her new movie's premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night, Winfrey might be thinking that acting is the least frightening part of her return to film. Following an emotional screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, moviegoers headed across the street to an after-party at WP24 -- Wolfgang Puck's trendy restaurant with a sweeping view of the downtown skyline.
July 3, 2013 |
Harvey Weinstein loves a good fight -- especially if it helps him promote one of his company's movies. So when the MPAA's title registration bureau decided this week that the Weinstein Co. couldn't use the title "The Butler" on Lee Daniels' upcoming biopic about the life of a longtime White House butler because it's also the title of a 1916 short film owned by Warner Bros., Weinstein immediately went into outrage mode. Today, he announced the hiring of prominent attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 recount fight and gay marriage advocates in the recent Supreme Court challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore when he ran afoul of the Treasury Department after visiting Cuba for the Weinstein Co. film "Sicko.
November 18, 2013 |
It had already been a strong year for films with predominantly black casts - the kind of year that makes bloggers pull out their laptops and write posts about a “new moment.” "Fruitvale Station" was the sensation of the Sundance Film Festival. "The Butler" was a major commercial crossover. "12 Years A Slave” is the art-house breakout of the fall and an early Oscar favorite. A big holiday hit was hardly needed to make people realize that long-held tropes about movies with black casts - or, for that matter, aimed at black audiences - were bunk.
December 26, 2013 |
If you're among the small number of directors or actors who isn't white, there is finally some cause to be excited about what's happening in Hollywood. For the first time in Academy Awards history, a black man - British filmmaker Steve McQueen - may win the directing Oscar for his heralded, harrowing film "12 Years a Slave. " Besides McQueen, critics and awards voters are celebrating the work of other people of color, singling out "Gravity's" Mexican-born filmmaker, Alfonso Cuarón, the African American talk show host Oprah Winfrey from "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and a variety of black actors, including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave")
August 14, 2013 |
If it takes a village to raise a child, it took a principality to bring "Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' " to the screen. A five-year odyssey of false starts, studio abandonment and piecemeal financing, "The Butler" arrives in theaters Friday with 37 different people credited as producers - among them retired NBA player Michael Finley and "Spider-Man" maker Laura Ziskin, who died more than two years ago. Ziskin left money in her will to help bankroll...
December 6, 2013 |
Nelson Mandela was revered around the world, but the South African leader also enjoyed a particularly passionate following in Hollywood. The movie business' interest in Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, yielded a number of documentaries and, just this year, two feature films about Mandela and his wife: "Winnie Mandela," which opened Sept. 6, and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which debuted Nov. 29. Following Mandela's death, several filmmakers, executives and actors reflected on Mandela's life and work, and shared their memories about his influence and having met him. FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)