The Big Sick (2017) - News Poster

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Amazon Studios to Start Making Films That Will Skip Theatrical Release

Amazon Studios made waves at the Sundance Film Festival last month where they scooped up distribution rights to a number of high-profile films, but it appears as though Amazon may be making a significant shift when it comes to their feature film strategy. Amazon has long been held as a “gold standard” in cinephile circles because of the way it rolls out its original films. Rather than foregoing a theatrical experience like Netflix, Amazon played by theatrical rules, giving films like Manchester by the Sea and The Big Sick robust theatrical runs at least 90 days before those movies …
See full article at Collider.com »

Jennifer Salke On Amazon’s Film Future, Sundance Deals & The Late Night Selfie That Won Her ‘Brittany Runs A Marathon’

  • Deadline
In an unprecedented Sundance Film Festival deal haul for a single distributor, Amazon Studios gave the clearest indication of its movie future by paying a record near $50 million for five films. The acquisition avalanche began with the fest’s first big pact for Late Night (record $13M for U.S. rights). Within a matter of days, Amazon bought Brittany Runs A Marathon ($14M for world rights), The Report ($14M for world rights), Honey Boy ($5 million) and One Child Nation. It might have gotten a sixth, the Festival Favorite Award-winning documentary Knock Down the House, which went for a record $10 million to Netflix. But the fit was wrong because the film’s heroine, freshman congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, was simultaneously bashing Amazon for its since-abandoned tax incentive-laden plan to build NYC headquarters near her congressional district.

“That may have been part of it, because we were engaged in that negotiation and then [the film] went elsewhere,
See full article at Deadline »

2019 Writers Guild Awards: WGA is limited as guidepost to predicting Oscars

2019 Writers Guild Awards: WGA is limited as guidepost to predicting Oscars
Don’t look for “The Favourite” to win at the WGA Awards on Sunday (Feb. 17). Only scripts written under the guild’s guidelines or those of several international partners are allowed to vie for these awards, which ruled out this Oscar frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay. That limited eligibility means that these rewards are not the most reliable barometer of the eventual Oscar nominees and winners. Indeed, in the past 10 years only 65 of the WGA nominees have numbered among the 100 screenplays that reaped Academy Awards bids.

The original screenplay WGA nominees are: “Eighth Grade,” “Green Book,” “A Quiet Place,” “Roma” and “Vice.” The Oscar frontrunner, “The Favourite,” was ineligible with the WGA. The guild picks “Eighth Grade” and “A Quiet Place” didn’t make the grade with the writers branch of the academy, which rounded out the race with “First Reformed.” Without having to face off against “The Favourite” at the WGA,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Amazon Could Release Those Big Sundance Film Buys to Prime Video Subscribers Much Sooner

Amazon made quite a mark on this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Spending more than $41 million on four major scripted films — Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night,” Scott Z. Burns’ “The Report,” “Brittany Runs a Marathon” starring Jillian Bell, and Shia Labeouf’s childhood biopic, “Honey Boy” — the studio behind past acquisitions like “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Big Sick” looked like it was ready to make some noise at the box office in 2019.

[Update:]

That may still be the case, but anyone counting on seeing these films in theaters may be able to watch at home sooner than expected. Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke announced Wednesday afternoon during her executive panel at the Television Critics Association that there’s “flexibility” in those Sundance deals allowing Amazon to shorten or lengthen the theatrical window.

“[Those films are] guaranteed at least some theatrical release, but that could be a very short one or a long one,
See full article at Indiewire »

The Best Romantic Comedies of the Last 10 Years — IndieWire Critics Survey

  • Indiewire
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday.

This week’s question: What is the best romantic comedy of the last 10 years?

Ken Bakely (@kbake_99), Freelance for Film Pulse

Perhaps its basis on real-life events goes some of the way in getting it there, but “The Big Sick” is a wonderfully affecting and funny movie, and one of the reasons it works is because of how well it examines its characters, their backgrounds, and their personalities. Romantic comedies are dependent on the strengths of how the characters are developed, and while co-writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani may have used autobiographical inspiration in setting the stage, their storytelling talents ensure that the film’s world is thoughtfully realized, richly textured, and fully coherent from start to finish. A superb cast, led by Nanjiani himself, rounds off the film’s
See full article at Indiewire »

Hotel Mumbai Is Inspired By the Very Real 2008 Terror Attacks - Here Are the Facts

  • Popsugar
After receiving glowing reviews from critics at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, Hotel Mumbai will soon drop in American theaters this March. Starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, the harrowing film depicts the brave actions taken by hotel staff members at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the Mumbai attacks, one of the world's deadliest terrorist events since Sept. 11. So what's based on the true story and what's artistic license? Here's the real-world context of the three-day attacks that you need to know before watching the movie.

The Real Actors

Hotel Mumbai, as its name suggests, portrays the terrorist activities and evacuation efforts that transpired at the upscale Taj Mahal Palace Hotel between Nov. 26 and 29 in 2008. Over the years, the hotel workers have been remembered for their swift action during the situation. There really is a world-class chef named Hemant Oberoi, who served in a core team of staff members that led evacuation efforts.
See full article at Popsugar »

Billy Eichner Teams With Judd Apatow, Nick Stoller for Romantic Comedy

  • Variety
Billy Eichner Teams With Judd Apatow, Nick Stoller for Romantic Comedy
Billy Eichner is teaming up with Judd Apatow and Nick Stoller in a romantic comedy for Universal.

Eincher will star in the movie and co-write the screenplay with Stoller, who will direct. Apatow will produce the film about two men with commitment problems attempting a relationship.

It’s the second Apatow project unveiled by Universal in the past week. The studio announced last week that Apatow would direct and produce Pete Davidson’s currently untitled semi-autobiographical comedy. It has already been given a prime summer release date of June 19, 2020.

Eichner is a three-time Emmy nominee for his series, “Billy on the Street.” His credits include “Difficult People” and “Parks and Recreation.” He is currently developing his first comedy special for Netflix. On the TV front, he’s starring in Season 2 of Netflix’s “Friends From College” and recently appeared in Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Apocalypse.”

Stoller’s directing credits include “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,
See full article at Variety »

Nick Stoller To Direct Romantic Comedy Starring Billy Eichner, With Judd Apatow Producing

  • Deadline
Nick Stoller To Direct Romantic Comedy Starring Billy Eichner, With Judd Apatow Producing
Exclusive: Three-time Emmy nominee Billy Eichner will write and star in an untitled romantic comedy which is set up at Universal. Neighbors director Nick Stoller will direct and co-produce under his Global Solutions banners with Judd Apatow’s Apatow Productions banner.

Comedy will center around two men who have commitment problems and are attempting a relationship.

Previously announced at Universal, Apatow is directing an untitled comedy vehicle around Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson. That movie begins production this summer for a June 19, 2020 release date.

Eichner has two Disney features coming up: He’s voicing the character of Timon in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King and will star in Noelle opposite Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, and Shirley MacLaine. Currently the Billy on the Street star headlines the second season of Netflix’s Friends From College (which Stoller co-created with his wife Francesca Delbanco) and he was recently seen in
See full article at Deadline »

Critics' Debate: What Is a "Sundance Movie"? 2019 Edition Broadens the Picture

Critics' Debate: What Is a
Jon Frosch Now that we’re recovering from the whirlwind of screenings, schlepping and sleep deprivation that is the Sundance Film Festival, let’s look back. The question frequently posed among friends and colleagues during the fest is: Is it a good year?

It’s a tricky one to answer. While some editions are almost indisputably strong (2017 comes to mind, with exciting breakouts like Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound and The Big Sick, as well as lower-profile beauties like God’s Own Country and the doc Quest), most are harder to define qualitatively. The volume and variety of selections at Sundance ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

At Sundance 2019, Next Year’s Oscar Prospects Lie in the Documentaries

At Sundance 2019, Next Year’s Oscar Prospects Lie in the Documentaries
When Sundance Film Festival programmers assembled the most diverse selection of features and documentaries in their history, they weren’t thinking about big buys or awards appeal. Nevertheless, a range of online and theatrical buyers plunked down unprecedented millions for a raft of cross-cultural movies with global playability. Mainstream crowdpleasers “Blinded By the Light” and “Brittany Runs a Marathon” (which won the dramatic audience award) aren’t necessarily heading for awards consideration — until and unless they score rave reviews and boffo box office. Both New Line and Amazon will go for maximum summer play to make their money back, and then see where they are.

While “Manchester By the Sea,” “The Big Sick,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Whiplash,” and “Get Out” are among the narrative Sundance breakouts that went all the way to the Oscars, in recent years it’s documentaries that tend to go the Oscar distance. The
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

At Sundance 2019, Next Year’s Oscar Prospects Lie in the Documentaries

  • Indiewire
At Sundance 2019, Next Year’s Oscar Prospects Lie in the Documentaries
When Sundance Film Festival programmers assembled the most diverse selection of features and documentaries in their history, they weren’t thinking about big buys or awards appeal. Nevertheless, a range of online and theatrical buyers plunked down unprecedented millions for a raft of cross-cultural movies with global playability. Mainstream crowdpleasers “Blinded By the Light” and “Brittany Runs a Marathon” (which won the dramatic audience award) aren’t necessarily heading for awards consideration — until and unless they score rave reviews and boffo box office. Both New Line and Amazon will go for maximum summer play to make their money back, and then see where they are.

While “Manchester By the Sea,” “The Big Sick,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Whiplash,” and “Get Out” are among the narrative Sundance breakouts that went all the way to the Oscars, in recent years it’s documentaries that tend to go the Oscar distance. The
See full article at Indiewire »

Hotel Mumbai Is Inspired By the Very Real 2008 Terror Attacks - Here Are the Facts

  • BuzzSugar
After receiving glowing reviews from critics at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, Hotel Mumbai will soon drop in American theaters this March. Starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, the harrowing film depicts the brave actions taken by hotel staff members at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the Mumbai attacks, one of the world's deadliest terrorist events since Sept. 11. So what's based on the true story and what's artistic license? Here's the real-world context of the three-day attacks that you need to know before watching the movie.

The Real Actors

Hotel Mumbai, as its name suggests, portrays the terrorist activities and evacuation efforts that transpired at the upscale Taj Mahal Palace Hotel between Nov. 26 and 29 in 2008. Over the years, the hotel workers have been remembered for their swift action during the situation. There really is a world-class chef named Hemant Oberoi, who served in a core team of staff members that led evacuation efforts.
See full article at BuzzSugar »

Judd Apatow’s Pete Davidson Comedy Gets 2020 Release Date

  • Variety
Universal Pictures has given a prime summer release date of June 19, 2020, to Pete Davidson’s untitled semi-autobiographical comedy from director Judd Apatow.

The studio made the announcement Friday, three days after unveiling the project. The Universal Pictures film is written by Apatow, Davidson, and Dave Sirus.

Davidson, who grew up in Staten Island, lost his firefighter father in the Sept. 11 attacks, started performing stand-up comedy at the age of 16, and joined the cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 2014 at age 20. Davidson’s coming-of-age film “Big Time Adolescence” premiered Monday at the Sundance Film Festival.

Apatow will produce the pic for his Apatow Productions alongside Barry Mendel. They share producing credits on “The Big Sick,” “Bridesmaids,” “This Is 40,” “Trainwreck,” and “Funny People.” Production will be starting this summer in New York City.

The Davidson-Apatow movie is the second to land on the June 19, 2020, date. It joins an untitled Pixar movie.
See full article at Variety »

SNL's Pete Davidson Teaming Up with Judd Apatow for an Autobiographical Comedy

Judd Apatow has been out of the movie directing game for the last few years, as he has focused on some TV projects. The last big screen direction we saw from him was the 2015 Amy Schumer comedy, Trainwreck, which was hilarious and a big boost for Schumer’s career.

Apatow is now teaming up with SNL’s Pete Davidson for a comedy that will look to do the same for him. Davidson wrote the script with Apatow and Dave Sirus, and Davidson will star in what will be a semi-autobiographical comedy about his life growing up in Staten Island, New York.

Davidson lost his father as a child on September 11th, 2001, and started doing stand-up as a teenager in New York, landing SNL as one of the youngest cast members in the show’s history when he was just 20. His comedy is truthful and raw, and usually based on controversial subjects.
See full article at GeekTyrant »

Amazon Rules Sundance, Spending $41 Million as Traditional Distributors Lie Low

“That’s a great Netflix movie,” said one premium cable executive of “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a scruffy New York comedy based on rookie writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s best friend, an overweight 30ish party girl (TV star Jillian Bell), who changes her life by committing to run the New York Marathon. After the world premiere at the Eccles, the executive was wiping her eyes as a heated Sundance bidding war was already under way. However, the buyer wasn’t Netflix; it was Amazon Studios. It wasn’t chasing the big numbers at first, but as soon as new chief Jennifer Salke saw it, she rushed back into the fray to nail down the movie for $14 million worldwide. It was their third big buy of the festival.

The shift in the market for Sundance titles is dramatic, as the buyers with the most to spend and the most need for ample content — Apple,
See full article at Indiewire »

Amazon Rules Sundance, Spending $41 Million as Traditional Distributors Lie Low

Amazon Rules Sundance, Spending $41 Million as Traditional Distributors Lie Low
“That’s a great Netflix movie,” said one premium cable executive of “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a scruffy New York comedy based on rookie writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s best friend, an overweight 30ish party girl (TV star Jillian Bell), who changes her life by committing to run the New York Marathon. After the world premiere at the Eccles, the executive was wiping her eyes as a heated Sundance bidding war was already under way. However, the buyer wasn’t Netflix; it was Amazon Studios. It wasn’t chasing the big numbers at first, but as soon as new chief Jennifer Salke saw it, she rushed back into the fray to nail down the movie for $14 million worldwide. It was their third big buy of the festival.

The shift in the market for Sundance titles is dramatic, as the buyers with the most to spend and the most need for ample content — Apple,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Amazon Studios Wins ‘Brittany Runs A Marathon’ In $14 Million Sundance Deal

  • Deadline
Exclusive: Amazon Studios is closing another breathtaking Sundance film deal. After another all-night auction, Amazon is nearing the finish line on a $14 million world rights deal for Brittany Runs A Marathon, the film that Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote and directed that stars Jillian Bell as a woman who decides to turn her life around by losing weight and training to run a marathon. Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Michaela Watkins, Micah Stock, Mikey Day, and Alice Lee also star.

The film premiered Monday in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, and sources said there were six suitors in the mix. The deal saw Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke take a direct role in the negotiations. Salke, who left NBC to take the top job at Amazon almost exactly a year ago and spent much of her early tenure focused on fortifying Amazon’s TV division, has turned her attention to movies.
See full article at Deadline »

Pete Davidson Teams With Judd Apatow for Semi-Autobiographical Comedy

  • Variety
Pete Davidson Teams With Judd Apatow for Semi-Autobiographical Comedy
Pete Davidson will star in an untitled semi-autobiographical comedy from director Judd Apatow.

The Universal Pictures film is written by Apatow, Davidson, and Dave Sirus.

Davidson, who grew up in Staten Island, lost his firefighter father in the September 11 attacks. Davidson has said that his dad’s death has greatly influenced his work, including starting stand-up comedy at the age of 16.

He joined the cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 2014 at age 20. Davidson’s coming-of-age film “Big Time Adolescence” premiered Monday at the Sundance Film Festival, where the actor dropped by the Variety Studio.

Apatow will produce the pic for his Apatow Productions alongside Barry Mendel. They share producing credits on “The Big Sick,” “Bridesmaids,” “This Is 40,” “Trainwreck,” and “Funny People.”

Apatow has directed five films for Universal, including “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” Universal executive vice president of production Erik Baiers will oversee
See full article at Variety »

How Indie Films Can Find Success in Theaters

  • Variety
Indie films can still succeed in theaters, but producers and directors must be more creative in selling their films and cooking up stories that will resonate with audiences.

That’s the takeaway from a panel on theatrical distribution that was held at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a gathering that brought together producers, agents, and distributors.

“You have to really know what your audience is,” said Jim Meenaghan, co-head of UTA’s Independent Film Group. “There has to be sort of that why is this movie getting made? Why does it have to be distributed in theaters?”

The panel was sponsored by the National Association of Theatre Owners, an exhibition industry lobbying group. The organization’s spokesman Patrick Corcoran kicked off the gathering by noting that theaters need to attract a wide variety of different audiences — they need arthouse movies as well as comic book adventures if they’re
See full article at Variety »

Sundance Shocker: Big-Money Acquisitions Take Indie Film Market by Surprise

  • The Wrap
Sundance Shocker: Big-Money Acquisitions Take Indie Film Market by Surprise
This year’s Sundance Film Festival is taking Hollywood insiders by surprise as several distributors have gone on pricey spending sprees, with films flying off the shelves faster than festival goers can say “Pete Davidson is at Tao!”

As of Monday afternoon, three Sundance entries had sold for eight figures: Amazon Studios paid $13 million for Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night” shortly after its Friday premiere, then threw down $14 million in a worldwide deal for the fact-based Adam Driver-Jon Hamm political thriller “The Report.”

And New Line is nearing a $15 million-plus deal for Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” about a teenager of Pakistani descent who falls in love with Bruce Springsteen’s music in the midst of Margaret Thatcher’s Great Britain.

In addition to the big-spending deals, plenty of other films like Awkwafina’s “The Farewell,” (A24) the Lupita Nyong’o zombie comedy “Little Monsters” (Neon
See full article at The Wrap »
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