Or did, rather. In secret.
"Boardwalk Empire's" Terrence Winter will write the film, based on the life of the gangster who inspired "The Departed"
Warner Home Video has a new trick: making "Harry Potter" disappear from DVD and Blu-ray in 2012
That doesn't mean they will all suddenly disappear -- now that would be a magic trick worthy of special credit at Hogwarts -- but that all discs will be limited to stock on hand on store shelves and stockrooms. When those are sold, there will be no more. For now, anyway.
But don't panic. This is clearly timed to make the most of the holiday season and encourage anyone thinking of picking up a "Harry Potter" movie for a gift or complete their DVD library to take the lunge now.
And don't expect this to last forever. Disney has for decades taken their animated classics out of circulation and then, after a break of a few years, re-released them in theaters and on home video in new editions for a new generation.
And according to the press release, the film will still be available through video on demand and digital delivery.
Read the full text of the press release at Videodrone
The latest true-life animal adventure film from Disney opens on Earth Day 2012
I probably learned more about animals from Walt Disney growing up than I did from any school or zoo experience. For much of my childhood I was obsessed with the wildlife documentaries on the hour-long TV anthology, “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” Many of the episodes used edited versions of the nature docs the studio released theatrically during the 1950s. These included award-winning titles such as “The Living Desert,” “The Vanishing Prairie,” and “Jungle Cat.” The “true-life adventures” were not without their controversies (one animals rights group in the 1980s accused Disney of faking certain scenes) but as a kid I was riveted to these close-up looks at the mysteries of the animal kingdom.
In 2008, Walt Disney Studios established a new film label called Disneynature to continue its legacy of animal documentaries. Today the studio released the poster for its fourth film, “Chimpanzee,” which was shot over several years and focuses on a family of chimps living in the Ivory Coast and Ugandan rain forests. Opening next Earth Day (April 20, 2012), the film features an adorable baby chimp named Oscar whose playful curiosity lights up the African forest until a twist of fate leaves him to fend for himself (with a little help from an unexpected ally). The film is directed by Alastair Fothergill (“African Cats” and “Earth”) and Mark Linfield (“Earth”).
Ever since Johnny Weismuller made a friend out of a chimp in the Tarzan films and Ronald Reagan tried to teach human morals to one in “Bedtime for Bonzo,” the animals have been a source of fascination for moviegoers. Whether as a comedy foil (“Space Chimps”) or a potential foe (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), chimpanzees continue to have wide-ranging appeal. It’s about time that they starred in a more realistic film about their lives, one that is sure to promote a new level of interest (not to mention endless merchandising opportunities!).
Take a look at the trailer for Disneynature’s “Chimpanzee” after the break.
An interview with Donna Anton, Director of the UK’s small but prestigious Cornwall Film Festival
There are a growing number of world-famous film festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, South by Southwest, Telluride, Tribeca, and so many others. Many of these are huge industry events—some films’ only chance to be seen and to vie for coveted distribution deals. Other festivals are smaller, more intimate affairs—run by and for cinephiles and bringing a slate of international films to parts of the world that would otherwise never get to see them on a big screen.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Donna Anton, Director of the Cornwall Film Festival (or, in Cornish, the Goel fylm Kernow). Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the festival will be held from November 4 to 6 in the town of Newquay in Cornwall. For those of you who’ve never visited this beautiful and ancient land, it is located about 300 miles southwest of London, bordered by the Celtic Sea and the English Channel.
Donna, what would you say sets your festival apart from other festivals in the UK or around the world?
Anton: The Cornwall Film Festival has three objectives: to support Cornish heritage and culture; to support filmmakers and filmmaking in Cornwall; and to celebrate the joys of filmmaking. The two dozen or so feature films and documentaries in our program generally haven't been screened—and don't have a chance of being seen—on a big screen down here.
What are you most excited about this year?
Anton: This is our 10th anniversary—survival against all the funding odds, believe me!—so it'll be exciting to celebrate that milestone. I'm excited about presenting what for us is an especially eclectic mix of terrific films, most of them Cornwall premieres, including lots of low-budget gems that wouldn't appear on most people's radars. I also made a concerted effort to support more films made by women, both shorts and features.
What special guests will be attending?
Anton: Since we're a five-hour train ride from London it's difficult to get many working actors to commit to come down for two days (air service is sporadic), so we concentrate on inviting interesting filmmakers—“rising stars” as they're called—and related guests. We're especially excited about having award-winning author-journalist Lionel Shriver attend a Q&A screening of “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” We're also presenting a screening of “The Whistleblower,” a drama-thriller starring Rachel Weisz, based on the story of a UN peacekeeper who discovered sex-trafficking rings in post-war Bosnia. The whistleblower herself, Kathryn Bolkovac, is coming to the screening—an excellent opportunity to flag up an important human rights issue. We have some terrific directors coming down, including Belfast-based John McIlduff, who made the miserablist, darkly comic “Behold the Lamb” (screened at Toronto IFF), and Andrew Haigh, who's getting great press for his wonderful gay romance “Weekend,” a lovely little film, beautifully cast and acted, that has crossover appeal and is, in my opinion, one of the best British films of the year.
The prequel to the series ends the U.S. box office slump with a record-setting opening
Paramount got a special Halloween treat this weekend with the release of “Paranormal Activity 3.” After a killer opening day that brought in $26.2M (at 3,321 theaters), the prequel to the franchise was expected to murder the competition with a whopping $54M weekend, putting a welcome end to the doldrums that have haunted the movie industry for weeks. The success of the film seems all the sweeter since it only cost $5M to make and doesn’t feature any big stars. I just hope this doesn’t cause every studio in town to drop their prestigious films in favor of pale imitations of the “PA” formula. Now that would be a true horror story.
None of the other films this weekend came close to “Paranormal Activity 3’s” crazy numbers. Last week, “Real Steel” and “Footloose” fought all weekend for the #1 spot with “Real Steel” finally taking the lead. The same thing happened this week for #2. “Real Steel” provided the knockout punch in the end with a total of $10.9M (at 3,412 theaters) with “Footloose” kicking off its Sunday shoes at $10.5M. Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich's swashbuckling “Three Musketeers 3D” opened at #4 with an $8.8M weekend (at 3,017 theaters). Summit Entertainment was none too pleased with its star, the lovely Ms. Jovovich, who apparently spent much of Friday tweeting harsh criticisms of what she felt was the studio’s lackluster marketing campaign. In its third week, “The Ides of March” moved to #5, with another $5.1M (at 2,042 theaters) added to its totals.
Now in its fifth week, “Dolphin Tale 3D” continued to stay afloat at #6, adding $4.7M (on 2,858 screens) to its cumulative box office of $65M. At #7, Brad Pitt remained neck-and-neck with the dolphin (do dolphins have necks?) in the fifth week of “Moneyball,” scoring another $4.4M (at 2,353 theaters) for a $64M total. Another new release, Universal’s “Johnny English Reborn” opened in the #8 position, but while the Rowan Atkinson film has seen huge numbers and great success overseas, its debut here was nothing to skype home about. The film took in only $4M (in 1,551 theaters). And even though Halloween is just around the corner, “The Thing” continued its descent at the box office. At #9, the film earned only $3.1M (at 2,995 theaters) for the weekend. Finally, at #10, the four-week-old feel-good film “50/50” brought in $2.9M (at 1,932 theaters) for a cumulative total of $29M.
The Christian-themed “Courageous,” a surprise hit for the past four weeks, was finally knocked out of the Top 10 by “Paranormal Activity 3,” clearly the work of Satan. A few other new films in limited release such as “Margin Call” and the critically acclaimed “Martha Marcy May Marlene” did very well in the few theaters in which they were screened. As for next weekend, we’ll see if Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, and a 3D kitty with a Spanish accent can provide the industry with some additional Halloween treats.
One of Texas' most notorious executions gets an infuriating documentary
Second film does not open for almost another two months
The clocks seem to tick a bit differently in Hollywood. The second Guy Ritchie-directed "Sherlock Holmes" film will not hit theaters until December 16 (that's the clunkily-titled "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"), but Warner Bros. has already picked a screenwriter for the (inevitable) third film. Drew Pearce, who has already has one more big franchise film coming up (that's another Robert Downey Jr.-starring flick, "Iron Man 3"), is set to script this next installment. Deadline reports that the screenwriter is still writing his take on Iron Man, and will soon seal his deal for this next film.
The second film in Ritchie's ostensible series again stars Downey and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, with new cast members Jared Harris and Noomi Rapace coming on board. The film focuses on the battle of wits (and more) between Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty (Harris). This go-round was written by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, a husband-and-wife who previously wrote and directed "Paper Man" together back in 2009. It looks to focus almost exclusively on cross-dressing and exploding trees. The first "Sherlock Holmes" opened on Christmas Day back in 2009, and it proved to be a positively huge hit for the studio, pulling in over half a billion dollars worldwide. That film had a large writing squad that included work from Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg, and Lionel Wigram.
Pearce has also apparently contributed some writing to Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim," but despite having three huge writing assignments under his belt with that, this new "Sherlock Holmes," and the third "Iron Man," he's an unproven quantity. Most of his resume before these gigs includes varied television programs and video shorts. Though audiences have not seen much from him, he most certainly has a big talent that Hollywood is hot to capitalize on (or, let's hope so).