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Thompson on Hollywood

Trailer Watch: Safe House Stars Badass Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga

Check out Universal's Safe House, from Swedish born director Daniel Espinosa. The plot sounds familiar, but we'll pay to see Denzel Washington in just about anything. Ryan Reynolds appears suitably second fiddle to Washington, and Vera Farmiga plays the tough CIA woman who balances out the requisite underwear-clad hot girlfriend. The film hits theaters February 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 7:17 AM
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AFM News: Endgame Launches P & A Venture to Fill Service Deal Gap

L.A.-based indie producer and financier Endgame Entertainment is launching new marketing venture Endgame Releasing, which is backed by a $150-million revolving fund for P & A (prints and ads) financing for films distributed through an established studio or independent. Endgame Releasing will partner with equity investors, producers and studios to provide distribution funds for wide-release films. Endgame Releasing will provide P&A of $20–plus million for four to six films a year opening on a minimum of 1800 screens. That means Endgame would put up from $400 to $500 million over the next four years.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 3, 2011 7:12 AM
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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Ratner's Tower Heist Set to Topple Indie Docs & Dramas

Brett Ratner's timely Tower Heist taps into anti-Wall Street sentiment and is just what you'd expect: competent, breezy, escapist entertainment. The well-cast Madoff-inspired comedy--which stars Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda and Eddie Murphy in a supporting comeback bid-- is expected to take in $29 million this weekend, while A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas 3D could score $15.5 million.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 6:34 AM
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James Bond 23: Mendes' Skyfall Starts Shooting, Craig Joined by Finney, Bardem, Fiennes UPDATED

At a press conference in London’s Whitehall district Thursday, director Sam Mendes confirmed the swirls of rumors surrounding Bond 23, from the new title to casting. Matt Mueller was there.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • November 3, 2011 5:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Media Watch: Justin Timberlake Tackles Myspace, Kindle's Lending Library, News Corp. Profit Dip

Life imitates art: musician/actor Justin Timberlake, who played a media mogul in Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network, is set to revive the hulking mess of MySpace. He purchased an ownership share in the social media site in June of 2011 and just recently acquired an office and a staff of six to help him with the revamp. Timberlake wants to turn the website into a hub for musicians, entertainers, and fans to explore new content and connect over their favorite music.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • November 3, 2011 4:37 AM
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AFM News: Freestyle Digital Media to Focus on Digital, Cable, VOD Distribution

In case you were wondering, VOD distribution is here to stay. Look at JC Chandor's $3.5 million Margin Call, which lured a strong ensemble of name actors led by Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto, and has passed the $1.5 million mark theatrically in limited release, as it was also available day-and-date on VOD. More and more people are learning, as Netflix had hoped, to download and stream movies from their cable companies or through Roku, iTunes, PS3 or TiVo. Several folks I know picked up on the publicity and ad noise surrounding Margin Call and watched it on its second weekend in theaters, at home. It's significant, too, that theater owners are lowering ticket prices for a change.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 3, 2011 2:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Film Independent Spirit Awards' Jameson Grant: Accepting Submissions for Find Your Audience Award

Film Independent's Spirit Awards is now accepting submissions for the Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, one of four filmmaker grants. The Jameson grant, in its second year and funded by Jameson Irish Whiskey, is designed to help build an audience for a feature length narrative or documentary filmmaker. In addition to the $40,000 grant, the winner will be featured at the Independent Spirit Awards on February 25 and will receive ongoing consultation from FIND. Jeff Malmberg's excellent documentary Marwencol was last year's winner.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 1:19 AM
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AFM IN THE WORKS: Edgerton, Kidman, Dujardin, Del Toro, Cotillard, Watts, Wright, Wahlberg, Ibsen

Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) and Xavier Samuel are on board to star in Anne Fontaine's (Coco Before Chanel) The Grandmothers, adapted from the 2003 novella by Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing by-- it's getting better--Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons). In the story, two childhood friends/neighbors (Watts, Wright) each fall in love with the other's son, to the disgust of their wives. Sounds bizarre (and a bit like Toronto title The Oranges). Amazon sheds more light on it:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 1:04 AM
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Online Constellation Launches TOP DOCS Screenings, Q & As

Constellation, the new Virtual Theatrical Exhibition and online social media platform, is launching their first lineup of documentaries, TOP DOCS. It's a curated program for doc filmmakers to discuss their recent works via live online screenings. TOP DOCS launches November 3 with director Albert Maysles hosting a Q&A of Ellen Hovde's Grey Gardens (pictured).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 2, 2011 12:23 PM
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Steve Jobs Biography Selling Like Hotcakes, Did Nora Ephron Know Jobs?

Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography is flying off the shelves, both literal and digital, selling 380,000 copies in one week in the U.S. alone. It's the 18th best selling book of 2011, ahead of John Grisham's The Confession. The U.K. also marked strong sales of the book, 37,244 copies.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2011 11:43 AM
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