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The Playlist

Focus Features Looks To Pick Up Keanu Reeves’ Long-Delayed Sci-Fi Romance ‘Passengers’

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • March 20, 2014 9:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments
47 Ronin, Keanu Reeves
Before “Prometheus” brought the name of Jon Spaihts to many people’s attention, Keanu Reeves was busy working with the writer on “Passengers” a 2007 Black List-approved project primed as a slice of smart, intimate sci-fi also starring Reeves. The space romance has since encountered many obstacles—first the swap of Rachel McAdams for Reese Witherspoon in the co-lead, and then McAdams’ exit just as The Weinstein Company also dropped its involvement—but at last a bit of optimistic news has arrived.

The 10 Biggest News Stories Of 2013

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 7, 2014 1:33 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The Biggest News Stories Of 2013
2013 is now behind us, which means we can take stock on what the biggest news stories of the year were, and how they'll affect the industry in the coming year and beyond

Podcast: The Playlist Talks 'Gravity', Focus Features, Quentin Tarantino's Top 10 & More

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • October 9, 2013 11:06 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Gravity, Cuaron
On this latest episode, host Erik McClanahan is joined by Editor-In-Chief Rodrigo Perez, Managing Editor Kevin Jagernauth and for the first time, Features Editor Jessica Kiang to talk about "Gravity." Warning, SPOILERS abound in this podcast so don't listen unless you've already seen the film or don't care. Also getting some time around the watercooler this week, we discuss the change over at Focus Features, Quentin Tarantino's Top 10 movies of the year (so far) and even more.

With James Schamus Out, What Does The Future Hold For Focus Features?

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 2, 2013 3:52 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Since 2001, James Schamus has been the very public and very successful CEO of Focus Features, the arthouse arm of Universal Pictures. Under his tenure, filmmakers like Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers, Woody Allen, George Clooney, Cary Fukunaga, Rian Johnson, David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski and more have all seen their movies released by Focus, who have carved out a niche for themselves as an indie willing to take on smart, adult fare and have often proven an ability to make them financially successful. The brand, more often than not, is associated with quality. But a changing of the guard is happening that could see a change in how they operate.

Focus Features Ready To Sign Up For Matthew McConaughey's 'The Dallas Buyer's Club' For Fall Release

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • April 8, 2013 9:24 AM
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  • 2 Comments
For audiences and especially filmmakers, there is an aspect of deflated confusion in an actor’s misled sacrifices for an underwhelming film -- just ask Jared Leto in his role of Mark David Chapman in “Chapter 27.” Luckily, with the 2012 that Matthew McConaughey had, which saw “Bernie,” “Magic Mike,” and “Killer Joe,” that sort of fate for his AIDS drama “The Dallas Buyers Club” is unlikely, and now seems even more unlikely with the arrival of some welcome distribution news.

Laika & Focus Features Announce New Animated Feature 'The Boxtrolls' For 2014 Release

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 8, 2013 12:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments
This has been a crazy week for animation news – Henry Selick's seemingly doomed “The Shadow King” got resurrected; DreamWorks Animation’s financial troubles became very public (leading to schedule shifts and the cancellation of one film); and now here’s another bit of animation world news to get the blood going: Seattle-based stop motion studio Laika and Focus Features will reteam once again for “The Boxtrolls,” which has officially started production, for release on October 17th, 2014. This is the painstaking world of stop motion animation – get cracking boys!

Focus Features Will 'Kill The Messenger' With Jeremy Renner

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 5, 2013 1:47 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Well, that didn't take long. Just a few short days after Jeremy Renner signed up for the very promising "Kill the Messenger," the project has now landed a great home.

Janis Joplin Biopic Starring Amy Adams Back On, Lee Daniels To Direct

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 16, 2012 11:26 PM
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  • 15 Comments
The year was 2010, and at the time Amy Adams was attached to play famed rocker Janis Joplin with "City Of God" helmer Fernando Meirelles to helm. Or that was at least the plan. And then there was nothing heard again about a biopic until earlier this year when "Martha Marcy May Marlene" helmer Sean Durkin signed up for "Joplin" with Nina Arianda in the lead role. And now, there is some fierce competition from Adams, as her movie is back moving, not only eyeing a similar start date but bringing a name director along with it.

Derek Cianfrance Says 'Place Beyond The Pines' Will Arrive In Theaters Sometime In 2013

  • By Edward Davis
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  • September 10, 2012 2:15 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines" was one of the most anticipated films of the Toronto International Film Festival and, meeting lofty expectations, the film made a big splash this weekend in Canada's largest city. Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, Ben Mendelsohn and standout newcomer Emory Cohen, reviews of 'Pines' were largely glowing (you can read our A-grade review here), a bidding war for the North Amercan rights started almost immediately and the the film finally landed in the arms of Focus Features.

Focus Features Go To 'The Place Beyond The Pines,' 'Great Expectations' And 'Jayne Mansfield's Car' Also Find Homes

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 9, 2012 2:32 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Several days into this year's Toronto International Film Festival, the buyers' market hasn't quite caught fire yet. A few films have been picked up, mostly on the smaller scale of things, but the first few days have mostly been made up of films that already have distribution – the "Cloud Atlas"es, "Silver Linings Playbook"s and "Anna Karenina"s of the world. But in the next few days, the real hot tickets start to unspool, and the first major acquisition of the festival has been made.

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