‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Opens Regal; ‘Vox Lux’ Solid and ‘The Favourite’ Expands Strong: Specialty Box Office

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Opens Regal; ‘Vox Lux’ Solid and ‘The Favourite’ Expands Strong: Specialty Box Office
The Queens have it again. Focus Features opened Mary Queen of Scots in four New York and L.A. locations Friday to a robust start, taking in over $200K for a weekend, topping $50,045 per-heater average, placing it as the 11th highest PTA of the year as of Sunday morning.

Specialty moviegoers are clearly satiating their zest for period films centering on monarchs from the British Isles. Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite had the year’s highest opening weekend PTA at $105K. Now in its third weekend, the feature, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, as well as Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as her aristocratic suitors, expanded over the weekend, grossing $1.43M in 91 theaters, averaging $15,714.

Though Mary Queen of Scots reigned among limited-release openers, Neon’s Vox Lux by Brady Corbet and Peter HedgesBen Is Back, released via Ld Entertainment, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, had solid showings. Vox Lux,
See full article at Deadline »

Box Office: ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Narrowly Defeats ‘Grinch’ in Sleepy Pre-Holiday Weekend

  • Variety
Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” topped a quiet weekend at the domestic box office, marking the third straight win for the animated sequel. It earned $16.2 million in its third week of release, generating $140 million since it opened over Thanksgiving.

Another cartooned adventure almost gave “Ralph” a run for its money. Illumination and Universal’s “The Grinch” pocketed $15.2 million in its fifth outing, marking a decline of just 15%. Based on the Dr. Seuss classic holiday tale, “The Grinch” has made $223.5 million in North America and $322.4 million globally.

A series of holdovers rounded out the top five as studios largely sat out the pre-holiday frame. Moviegoing will get a boost next weekend when “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The Mule,” and “Mortal Engines” hit theaters. That will kick off a competitive Christmas race as “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Aquaman,” and “Bumblebee” enter the fray the following weekend. “Aquaman” got a head start overseas,
See full article at Variety »

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet,’ ‘The Grinch’ Vie for Box Office Crown in Quiet Weekend

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet,’ ‘The Grinch’ Vie for Box Office Crown in Quiet Weekend
Animated family flicks are proving their worth ahead of the upcoming holiday rush, with “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” both making claims on the top spot with an estimated $15 million each.

Current estimates show Disney’s “Ralph” ahead by roughly $600,000. If estimates hold, it will mark the film’s third consecutive weekend at the top. The family feature, now in its third weekend, has totaled $128 million domestically with another $87 million overseas, while Universal’s “The Grinch,” currently in its fifth frame, has taken in $275 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, the third frame of MGM-New Line’s “Creed II” should slot into third with about $9 million while the two animated flicks battle it out. The Michael B. Jordan-starrer has taken in $88 million domestically and $15 million in international markets.

The fourth weekend of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” and “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” sixth frame are both looking
See full article at Variety »

Saoirse Ronan Is ‘Mary Queen Of Scots’; Julia Roberts & Lucas Hedges Star In ‘Ben Is Back’ – Specialty B.O. Preview

Saoirse Ronan Is ‘Mary Queen Of Scots’; Julia Roberts & Lucas Hedges Star In ‘Ben Is Back’ – Specialty B.O. Preview
Following a couple of somewhat lighter weeks in the Specialty space, this weekend is really ramped up with star-lead limited release awards contenders vying for box office recognition. Focus Features rolls out Mary Queen of Scots, starring Oscar nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as the 15th century rival monarchs of Scotland and England, respectively. The title opens three weeks after The Favourite, another big screen look at a female British monarch (and members of her rivalrous court) from centuries past. That film had the year’s best per theater average opener at $105K in November. Ld Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate are rolling out Peter Hedges’ Ben Is Back starring his son Lucas Hedges as well as Oscar-winner Julia Roberts as a mother who confronts her son’s addiction.

Natalie Portman stars as a pop sensation who rose to stardom from tragedy in Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, opening in select locations via Neon.
See full article at Deadline »

Golden Globes Nominations: 22 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

  • Variety
Golden Globes Nominations: 22 Biggest Snubs and Surprises
The Golden Globe nominations always offer a few curveballs, and Thursday morning’s announcement was no exception. The movie with the most nominations was “Vice” (with six), beating out “A Star Is Born,” “Green Book,” and “The Favourite” (with five apiece). Meanwhile, on the television side, voters favored quite a few freshman series from across the pond, including “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” with a leading 10 total noms, “Bodyguard,” “Killing Eve,” and “A Very English Scandal.”

Black Panther” managed to emerge as a best picture drama contender, although the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — a group of about 100 foreign journalists — overlooked its director Ryan Coogler and its supporting actor Michael B. Jordan. And the organization still has ways to go when it comes to inclusion. For the second consecutive year, no women were nominated for best director on the film side.

Here, Variety breaks down the 22 biggest snubs and surprises:

Snub: Julia Roberts,
See full article at Variety »

Best Picture Contenders Focus on Timely Issues Like Politics, Addiction

  • Variety
Best Picture Contenders Focus on Timely Issues Like Politics, Addiction
Hollywood has long excelled at telling stories that are cut from reality, featuring topical ingredients that tie escapism to the world we inhabit. Whether it’s true stories from the past or present that help to inform our current social landscape, or wholly creative pieces of fiction that oftentimes touch upon progressive collective change, filmmakers continue to infuse their work with compelling narratives that seek to resonate with audiences. Some of the best and most important movies of any given year show lasting appeal, serving dual purposes by commenting on universal values, while telling individualistic stories that entertain on a broad scale.

In 2018, the theme of addiction was on the minds of multiple storytellers, with Peter Hedges’ “Ben Is Back,” Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” and Felix Van Groeningen’s “Beautiful Boy” all putting a spotlight and distinct aesthetic stamp on characters facing downward spirals as a result of dependency.
See full article at Variety »

‘The Favourite’, ‘Mary Queen Of Scots’, ‘Vox Lux’, ‘Ben Is Back’ & More Banking On Quiet B.O. Weekend & Potential Golden Globe Love

  • Deadline
While last weekend with $118.2M in ticket sales was considered to be slow given its overall -45% drop from the previous Black Friday 3-day period, this weekend’s box office will ratchet down even more as the major studios opt to hold back on any wide entries. Again, this is due to the annual distraction of holiday activities; their thinking is that it’s better to starting teeing off next weekend and play into Christmas, after which point moviegoing explodes.

What is going on this weekend is that those distributors with awards season fare are looking to take advantage of the lull by either launching new titles or widening movies which might turn up at tomorrow’s Golden Globes. It will certainly be a weekend weighed by the power of the screen average.

In regards to the top three holdovers, look for them to ease 35% to 40% each and that includes
See full article at Deadline »

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Heads for Box Office Three-peat

  • Variety
It’s the calm before the storm. Next weekend kicks off a competitive box office race that will carry through the end of the year. Until then, it’s more Thanksgiving leftovers for all.

With no fresh wide releases hitting domestic theaters, Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” should retain its No. 1 spot in North America for the third weekend in a row. If the animated sequel is able to successfully fend off the competition, it will be only the fourth movie released this year to top the box office for three weeks straight. “Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are the other titles to hold that distinction.

Ralph Breaks the Internet” just crossed $200 million globally, including a Stateside haul of $120 million. It could bring in between $10 million and $12 million if it sees a similar decline as its sophomore outing. Holdovers “Creed II” and “The Grinch
See full article at Variety »

‘Ben Is Back’ Film Review: Julia Roberts Goes for Broke in Another Troubled Teen Movie

‘Ben Is Back’ Film Review: Julia Roberts Goes for Broke in Another Troubled Teen Movie
The troubled-teen genre is getting a workout this year, with films like “Beautiful Boy,” starring Timothée Chalamet as a teenage meth addict, and Joel Edgerton’s “Boy Erased,” starring Lucas Hedges as a teen whose parents won’t accept that he’s gay and push him into a conversion therapy program.

Hedges also appears with Julia Roberts in his father Peter Hedges’ “Ben Is Back,” a natural bookend to “Beautiful Boy” although it takes a very different approach to teen addiction.

While the latter covers a family struggling over a wide swath of time, “Ben Is Back” takes place over the course of a single night, Christmas Eve.

Also Read: 'Beautiful Boy' Film Review: Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell Shine in Harrowing Look at Addiction

The title gives away the setup: Ben, who’s been away for almost four months in rehab, unexpectedly shows up on the front door just before Christmas.
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Ben Is Back’ Review: Mother-Son Addiction Drama Cuts to the Bone

‘Ben Is Back’ Review: Mother-Son Addiction Drama Cuts to the Bone
Suburban mother Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) cautiously welcomes her 19-year-son Ben (Lucas Hedges) home for the holidays. Why the hesitation? The young man has gone Awol from rehab. Mom may be mollified by her son’s vow to return to treatment the day after Christmas. But will he keep his promise? And even with 77 days of treatment behind him, can he stay clean until then?

That’s the premise that fires up Ben Is Back, a drama from writer-director Peter Hedges (a.k.a. Lucas’s dad) about a mother
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Julia Roberts Convinced Lucas Hedges to Co-Star in ‘Ben Is Back’

  • Variety
Julia Roberts Convinced Lucas Hedges to Co-Star in ‘Ben Is Back’
Peter Hedges didn’t write the role of Ben Burns, a 19-year-old recovering drug addict in “Ben Is Back,” for his Oscar-nominated son Lucas Hedges.

It was actually Julia Roberts who nudged Lucas Hedges to consider portraying her on-screen offspring in the emotional drama about a mother who attempts to help her son after he returns home from rehab.

“I assumed reading a Peter Hedges screenplay that this great part for a young man, that was a killer part, was a fait accompli,” Roberts said at the New York premiere of “Ben Is Back. “I pictured Lucas, and he was brilliant in my mind’s eye, as I knew he would be.”

But when the award-winning actress met with director-writer Peter Hedges to discuss who would co-star, he came prepared with a number of young actors who were suited to portray Ben. None of which were named Lucas.

“I knew
See full article at Variety »

Making of 'Ben Is Back': How Director Peter Hedges Convinced His Reluctant Son Lucas to Star

Making of 'Ben Is Back': How Director Peter Hedges Convinced His Reluctant Son Lucas to Star
When writer-director Peter Hedges was casting Ben Is Back, he had no trouble at all persuading Julia Roberts to play the female lead. She loved the idea of portraying the long-suffering mom of a charismatic liar and recovering drug addict who busts out of rehab to spend Christmas with his family. But to star opposite her as the troubled young son, Roberts felt there was really only one person right for the role. That'd be one of the most-buzzed-about young actors in Hollywood — Lucas Hedges, the director's son — and he didn't want anything to do with the ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

“Ben Is Back” sees father and filmmaker Peter Hedges direct his son Lucas Hedges to a brilliant performance

There’s a special little alchemy on display in Ben Is Back, a wonderful new film hitting theaters this week. You see, in the director’s chair is filmmaker Peter Hedges, while in one of the central two roles is his son, Lucas Hedges. Each has done strong work in the past, but here they bring out the best in each other. When I haven’t even mentioned the commanding turn by Julia Roberts, you know this is good stuff. Together, the three of them make this among 2018’s finest works. It will contend for a spot on my year end top ten list. The movie is a family drama about a teenage drug addict home for the holidays. It’s Christmas Eve and Holly Burns (Roberts) is wrangling her two young children, while older daughter Ivy (Kathryn Newton) performs in a church choir show. When they return home, they
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

‘Ben Is Back’ Raises The Ante For Holiday Stories – The Contenders NY

  • Deadline
‘Ben Is Back’ Raises The Ante For Holiday Stories – The Contenders NY
A family drama is not unusual fodder for a holiday big screen story, but add elements of a suspense thriller by way of drug addiction, then the ante rises for a holiday release. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Hedges took on the challenge, tapping his son, Lucas Hedges, as the son struggling with addiction, while his mother, played by Julia Roberts, fights to help him overcome his disease.

Being touched by addiction is not foreign to the senior Hedges, who said that he was looking for ways to, “tell more urgent and authentic stories,” ahead of writing Ben Is Back, which opens in theaters December 7.

“I’ve had a relative, a friend and a fellow actor overdose,” said the filmmaker at Saturday’s Contenders event when speaking with Deadline’s Pete Hammond. “As I researched the [epidemic], it seemed impossible to cover [broadly]. But the more I researched, the more I thought I could
See full article at Deadline »

Deadline’s The Contenders New York Underway As Disney Kicks Off Day Of Oscar-Worthy Hopefuls

  • Deadline
Deadline’s The Contenders New York Underway As Disney Kicks Off Day Of Oscar-Worthy Hopefuls
Director Rob Marshall and the cast of Mary Poppins Returns including Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw are kicking off Deadline’s first New York edition of The Contenders, the all-day event today that highlights award hopefuls from the major studios and indie distributors.

Taking place at the DGA Theater in NYC, the invitation-only event for Oscar voters and key guild members is at capacity and will feature a day full of major talent from the year’s best movies. It provides voters with a kind of one-stop shopping opportunity to hear from talent and filmmakers and see clips from movies in contention for the industry’s highest award. After eight consecutive years as a staple of the awards season in Los Angeles, and for the past two years in London, it seemed only natural to bring this incredible opportunity to the Big Apple — particularly this year
See full article at Deadline »

Notes On The Season: New York Contenders Come Out; Branagh Sneaks Shakespeare Into Race; Bertolucci’s Memorable Oscar Night

  • Deadline
A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit.

The Big Apple, where I am this week, has put itself at the center of the awardsverse in the past few days as three early groups try to put their mark on the race and act as influencers. But for Deadline the really big event is happening all day Saturday as we launch the first ever Deadline’s The Contenders New York at the DGA Theatre, where an impressive group of stars and filmmakers will gather to discuss and show previews of their Oscar-worthy work in front an invited audience of NY Academy and key guild members. Starting off at 10 a.m. with Rob Marshall and the cast of Mary Poppins Returns, and wrapping at 4 p.m. with Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek, we will present New Yorkers with their own taste of what Deadline already has done this season in London,
See full article at Deadline »

Julia Roberts Makes a 'Non Negotiable' Deal with Lucas Hedges in Powerful Ben Is Back Scene

Julia Roberts Makes a 'Non Negotiable' Deal with Lucas Hedges in Powerful Ben Is Back Scene
Oscar winner Julia Roberts and nominee Lucas Hedges are back in the awards season race with new film Ben is Back, from director Peter Hedges.

In the drama, Hedges plays Ben, a 19-year-old drug addict in rehabilitation, while Roberts plays Holly, his loving but wary mother. Roberts’ character Holly soon learns that her charming yet troubled son is still very much in harm’s way at the outset of the film, which takes place in one day.

In this scene, exclusive to People, Holly makes a deal with her son that he can come home for one day, Christmas Eve,
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Tom Hanks enters talks to join Paul King’s Pinocchio

  • HeyUGuys
Everyone’s favourite actor, Tom Hanks, has entered into early negotiations to join Paul King’s live-action adaptation of ‘Pinocchio’.

No details as to which role Hanks is up for has been disclosed but we’re hedging our bets on Pinocchio’s ‘father’ Geppetto.

Paddington’s Paul King will helm the Disney story which follows a living puppet who must prove himself worthy in order to become a real boy. Geppetto is his creator, a master toymaker as well as a widower who longs for a son. Geppetto is protective of Pinocchio, prompting the boy to set out and see the world for himself.

Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz had previously worked on the script, however, Wonder scribe, Jack Thorne and Simon Farnaby have been working on a rewrite.

Also in the news – Paul King to take the helm on sci-fi adaptation ‘Time’s Fool’

Pinocchio first made an appearance
See full article at HeyUGuys »

IFC Films Co-President Jonathan Sehring to Exit After 2 Decades

  • The Wrap
IFC Films co-president Jonathan Sehring announced on Wednesday that he has decided to step down after a two decades-long career at the company.

“I’ve been contemplating this move for several years and on the 20th anniversary of our launching IFC Films, it just felt like the right time,” Sehring said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Jim Dolan and Chuck Dolan, Marc Lustgarten and Josh Sapan for the unbelievable opportunities they afforded me since I joined the organization nearly 40 years ago. I have had two incredible careers at AMC Networks, 20 years in film and 20 years in television, and I am immensely proud of the films and television shows we produced and distributed, the brands we built, the businesses we launched and all that we have accomplished during my time with the organization.”

Sehring has been a champion of independent filmmakers, leading IFC Films in supporting a wide
See full article at The Wrap »

IFC Films Co-President & Indie Film Champion Jonathan Sehring To Step Down

  • Deadline
Exclusive: Marking the end of a remarkable four decade run at its parent company, IFC Films co-president Jonathan Sehring is stepping down at year end. The decision is his, and he will take some time for himself, but retains the right to do other things in the indie film space where he has been an important figure for years. The affable Long Islander helped launch the Independent Film Channel in 1994 and later created IFC Films.

Stepping up to lead IFC Films into the future is Sehring’s co-president Lisa Schwartz, Arianna Bocco, who’s currently Evp Acquisitions and Productions, and John Vanco, who will continue in his role as Senior Vice President/General Manager of the IFC Center. The company encompasses IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, the multi-platform film distribution labels owned and operated by AMC Networks.

“I’ve been contemplating this move for several years and on
See full article at Deadline »
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