Roman Polanski is facing a fresh attempt to extradite him to the U.S. in connection with his 1977 conviction for child sexual abuse. Poland’s government has decided to appeal a court’s decision in October to deny a U.S. extradition request. Prosecutors had previously said they would not challenge the court's ruling. Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland's justice minister and prosecutor general, said on Tuesday, “I’ve decided to file to the supreme court an appeal over the ruling ... in which the ... court decided not to extradite Mr. Polanski to the U.S. in a situation when he’s accused of and wanted for ... a rape of a child,” the Polish state news agency PAP reported.Polanski, who holds dual French-Polish citizenship, has an apartment in Krakow, Southern Poland, but spends most of his time in France.Polanski has said he would like to shoot a film about the Dreyfus Affair in Poland, but only if he did not face the threat of extradition. The lead producer on the project is France’s Robert Benmussa, who said the budget would be €35 million ($37.1 million). The film, which is based on Robert Harris’ novel “An Officer and a Spy,” would be an international co-production made in English with English and American actors, Benmussa said."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/roman-polanski-extradite-u-s-1201785415/
     Debuting in Cannes just two weeks before its subject was sentenced in Senegal for horrific crimes perpetrated during his 11 years as president, “Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy” doesn’t dwell on the former dictator’s court hearing (except briefly at the end) but instead focuses on the victims, concentrating on the man’s crimes rather than his grandstanding. It’s a doubly wise strategy for this concise, clearly told and deeply effectivedocumentary from “Grigris” director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, which can be released or broadcast in the immediate wake of the landmark occasion, this being the first time an African despot had been tried by an African court — which in itself is damning testimony to the stymied reach of justice on the continent.Haroun’s narration at the start briefly puts into context Habré’s impact on the world stage, when the future president was involved in a hostage taking in 1974. Unfortunately, Habré’s heinous behavior then, and later when in power from 1982, was given a free ride by the CIA, which became the dictator’s chief backer and trained his much-feared secret police force, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS). Haroun himself went into exile in 1982, but many others were not so lucky, and some sources estimate that 40,000 people died in Habré’s prisons.Among those who survived incarceration was Clément Abaïfouta, chairman of the Association of the Victims of the Crimes of the Hissein Habré Regime and Haroun’s alter ego in the documentary as he interviews victims of the dictatorship. The documentary generally presents these people frontally, giving them a gravitas, as well as a sense of individualized dignity, as they show horrific scars disfiguring their bodies and talk about the tortures they underwent. Men and women movingly recount their nightmares in prison, and Haroun is careful not to present too many voices, thereby ensuring the stories avoid becoming a numbing litany.Only once does the director bring victim and torturer together, with Abaïfouta between them. The meeting outside is neither reconciliation nor catharsis, and it’s disturbing to watch the thin, stooped man known as Mahamat the Cameroonian deny any responsibility, using the “I was taking orders” line so convenient for the henchmen of tyrants. The man he tortured, much taller and almost regal, refuses to accept the excuse, and when Mahamat offers a very half-hearted apology (probably spoken for the camera), neither victim nor viewer will let him off so easily.After 23 years in comfortable exile in Senegal, Habré was finally arrested, and the trial began in July 2015. Of course, the former dictator refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court, and his personal website, full of expected lies and outrage, still boasts a disturbingly high Google ranking. For the people of Chad, bringing him to justice is a major step forward; hopefully it will also send a powerful message to other African despots. The film’s classic, unadorned visuals contribute to a sense of the ineluctability of truth, furthered by straightforward editing guaranteeing that each story becomes a powerful testimony."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/hissein-habre-a-chadian-tragedy-review-cannes-1201785221/
     It may be filmed in the Academy ratio, but Steve Oram's low-budget feature debut Aaaaaaaah! could hardly be considered a nod to classic Hollywood. Rather, the 4:3 frame indicates something more primal, evoking the so-called video nasties (a wave of mostly cheap horror films banned on VHS in the U.K. in the 1980s, following a wave of moral panic over the perceived degeneration in values these films would cause when made available for home viewing). Aaaaaaaah! is set in exactly the kind of world Mary Whitehouse feared, and functions as a kind of loving Swiftian satire on the more brutish aspects of modern life. Though it's at once too subtle and too extreme to attract a broad audience, those who get something out of gross-out humor, silent film and British comedy will treasure Aaaaaaaah! as a rare cult gem.Aaaaaaaah! opens as Smith (Oram, who wrote, directed, produced, starred and edited the film) and Keith (Tom Meeten) pause on a journey through an English wood. Keith grooms Smith a little, then a strange little ceremony mourning the passing of Smith's presumed mate is enacted. Her photograph is urinated on before, ritual duly observed, the pair pass on to conquer new territory, somewhere in a vast suburban sprawl on the horizon. An intense score (from King Crimson ProjeKcts with contributions by Dave Westlake) lets the audience know, not for the last time, that there is trouble ahead.Although most characters in the film are dressed roughly how we expect humans to dress, everybody behaves like human/simian hybrids. A la French cult classic Themroc, not one word of any recognizable language is spoken through the modest 79-minute runtime and there are no subtitles. The fact that viewers can nevertheless comprehend probably 95% of what is said from a mixture of context, body language and facial expression proves the uncomfortable point that Oram is making about our proximity to the rest of the primates.Matthew Wicks' camera thoroughly colludes in this idea, borrowing a visual grammar established by nature documentaries to shoot the extremely game cast (including singer Toyah Willcox) in the same way a David Attenborough show might present the great apes in their natural habitat. Closeups at moments of high tension within the social pecking order are particularly successful, as Oram and Julian Barratt's gift for uninhibited non-verbal performance translates especially well onscreen.Media within the world of Aaaaaaaah! is also subjected to a mischievous form of reductio ad absurdum, whereby the basic tropes of recognizable forms of popular entertainment are amplified until they are revealed in their true ridiculous light. A cooking program, for example, is hosted by a presenter whose bare breasts hang outside of her top as she cooks, the logical extreme of the seductive mode of culinary tuition purveyed by sexy chefs like the U.K.'s Nigella Lawson. Aaaaaaaah! shares cinematic DNA with Mike Judge's Idiocracy, which imagined the hit movie Ass winning eight Academy Awards.There's something both terrifying and satisfying about seeing human contrivances and customs rendered so completely transparent in their endless artifice and essentially arbitrary nature. In other more cautiously intellectual modes of cinema, it could all end up coming off as unbearably pretentious, but there's an earthiness here that cannot be ignored. Taking the same approach as Jonathan Swift in his legendary A Modest Proposal, Oram leavens his satire with liberal helpings of gross-out that threaten to mask the critical intent. Arms are ripped off, genitals bitten through, kitchen floors defecated onto, urine sprinkled liberally and sleeping faces tea-bagged at will. This isn't a polite send-up, and is all the better for it.As will be clear from the preceding descriptions, Aaaaaaaah! is far from a multiplex proposition and indeed has a very specific audience in mind: those with an appetite for somewhat abstract and otherworldly art-house satire combined with midnight movie scatological humor and gore. In other words, if your DVD collection makes room for the work of both Luis Buñuel and Troma Entertainment, you'll want to track it down (while its title offers obvious alphabetical advantages when it comes to VOD listings). Genre fests and home entertainment are this strange beast's natural habitat."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/aaaaaaaah-review-steve-oram-1201783607/
     Although in English it sounds like a type of sore, Le Cancre in French means the dunce; either way, it's an unfortunate title for this most unfortunate feature from the 86-year-old veteran French independent filmmaker Paul Vecchiali, who stars as a wealthy dying man looking back on his life — and particularly on the many women he's loved. Tedious, self-regarding and often quite amateurishly staged, Le Cancre might have earned its Cannes berth out of respect for its director (whose Please Give Generously played Directors' Fortnight in 2004). That's a valid sentiment, but not one that is going to help the movie travel.The film gets going with a home invasion in which Rodolphe (Vecchiali) finds himself threatened by a man in a ski mask. This turns out to be his son Laurent (Pascal Cervo), who in a lame reveal is shown to be merely demonstrating why his father is unfit to live on his own. Laurent promptly moves in with him, and the rest of the movie spans from 2007 to the near-present as Rodolphe visits or is visited by the great women in his life, who mostly still regard him fondly and inspire him to reminisce about his former romantic prowess, which perhaps remains undulled. (Women still like you, and you know it, Laurent tells him at one point.)The walk-ons, many played by famous faces, include Valentine (Françoise Lebrun, The Mother and the Whore), who plans to join a convent, and Sarah (Édith Scob, Eyes Without a Face), who is actually in one. She is the sister of a former lover of Rodolphe's who committed suicide, an act that he insists was not his fault. Elsewhere, Mathieu Amalric (probably not yet old enough for this part) appears as the father of a young man rejected by Laurent, whose love life is contrasted with Rodolphe's. In an unexpected musical number, Rodolphe's niece (Catherine Estrade) and her daughter (Alberta Commaret) sing to the man of the hour: Why all these women if you loved only one? It may be part of the point that Rodolphe, an acknowledged cad, can't see any of these women as more than mirrors for his own ego, but the apparent sexism leaves a bitter taste regardless.In a scene that adds some texture to the overarching sentimentality, Noël Simsolo turns up as a son Rodolphe didn't acknowledge. And finally, we meet Marguerite (Catherine Deneuve), Rodolphe's first love and Laurent's aunt, whom the protagonist has spent the bulk of the movie idealizing. Despite prominent billing, Deneuve appears in only one scene, shot in a single take, and a subsequent superimposition.Vecchiali is known for making features outside of polish-friendly settings, but Le Cancre has some of clunkiest mixing and cheapest-sounding music this side of The Room. (Like Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, Rodolophe sometimes alternates between speaking aloud and in voiceover.) Accordionized riffs on La Bohème contribute to the atmosphere of unmerited gravitas."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/le-cancre-review-cannes-1201777679/
     Johnny Depp's daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, is defending her father in the wake of abuse allegations.My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, Lily-Rose Depp wrote on Instagramover the weekend. He's been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same.The post included a picture of Lily-Rose Depp as a toddler being held up by her famous father.The Pirates of the Caribbean star is embroiled in a divorce from Amber Heard that has been playing out in the media. Heard alleges that Depp physically abused her and told aLos Angeles County Court last Friday that she feared for her safety. Photos of the actress' bruised face, which she said came after analtercation with Depp, were first published on TMZ and were quickly circulated by other outlets.Lily-Rose Depp does not directly address the allegations in her Instagram post, but she did share a screen grab of a People magazine article that notes that a Los Angeles Police investigation of a May 21 incidentfound no evidence of domestic assault.Depp is also facing professional challenges. The actor's most recent film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, bombed at the box office over Memorial Day weekend. The fantasy adventure opened to a meagre $34.2 million over the four-day holiday -- a poor start for a film that cost $170 million to produce.Lily-Rose Depp is the actor's 17-year-old daughter withFrench singerVanessa Paradis. She is an actress and model and can be seen in the upcoming French drama Planetarium opposite Natalie Portman.https://www.instagram.com/p/BGAcJJtBaHA"        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/johnny-depp-lily-rose-depp-1201785357/
     PARIS -- Vivendi is on track to win its hostile bid to take over the French mobile game company Gameloft, the sister-banner of Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft.Vivendi has indeed garnered the support of the majority of Gameloft's shareholders, namely Amber Capital and CIC, after making a bid at 8 Euros per share on Friday. It had previously made an unsolicited offer at 6 Euros per share which was unanimously rejected by Gameloft's board on Feb. 29, and later upped its offer to 7.20 Euros per share, valuing Gameloft at around 610 million Euros.The French regulatory authorities will unveil the official outcome of the bid by Friday -- analysts and insiders believe Vivendi now owns at least 50% of Gameloft, the maker of Dungeon Hunter, among other popular mobile games.With an expected 50% of Gameloft's voting rights, Vivendi would have the option of plugging out the founding fathers of the company, Yves Guillemot and his five brothers, who have been fiercely opposed to the takeover, judging the bid insufficient, unsolicited and lacking industrial rational. The Guillemot clan, which owns 18.99% of Gameloft with 27.26% of its voting rights, battled, in vain, to find other bidders in Canada and in the U.K. to counter Vivendi's takeover.While analysts had previously hinted that Vivendi's interest in Gameloft was part of a broader strategy to acquire the Guillemot's crown jewel, Ubisoft -- the video game company behind franchises such as Splinter Cell -- Vivendi's boss Vincent Bolloré declared in late March that he didn't intend on bidding for Ubisoft. That declaration means that Vivendi would not be permitted to make a bid for Ubisoft for six months; so not until about mid-September.Thomas Alzuyeta, financial analyst at Gilbert Dupont, said Vivendi's aim with Ubisoft was primarily to gain access to its board. Ubisoft will have its annual shareholders' meeting in September and I predict Vivendi will not win the vote to be represented in this board. Unless he makes a bid to take over Ubisoft, Vivendi will face great resistance from other shareholders to be granted a seat on its board; people are wary of Bolloré's drastic methods that include wiping out top management as he did with Telecom Italia and Canal Plus, said Alzuyeta.In terms of strategy, Gameloft also seems a more viable investment than Ubisoft which would cost Vivendi about 4 billion Euros -- the bulk of its war chest -- to acquire.Meanwhile, Vivendi could spur some synergies with Gameloft due to its expertise in the advertising field, notably via Havas, according to analysts. Vivendi and Havas know very well the international advertisers, and that would be a huge asset for Gameloft since its mobile games hold a tremendous potential in terms of advertising, pointed out Alzuyeta. Gameloft indeed reaches as many as 147 million people per month – or 19 million people per day — but it only generates 5 million Euros from advertising out of 252 million Euros in annual revenue."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/vivendi-gameloft-ubisoft-acquisition-1201785274/
     X-Men: Apocalypse easily topped the Memorial Day weekend box office, racking up a commanding $80 million over the four-day period in an otherwise forgettable holiday for the movie business.Its victory came at the expense of Alice Through the Looking Glass, which is shaping up to be one of the year's biggest bombs. The follow-up to 2010's Alice in Wonderland eked out $34.2 million over the four-day holiday, a far cry from the $116.1 million debut of the first film, and a disastrous start for a pricey movie.Final numbers are still being tallied, but even though this year's Memorial Day topped last year's holiday, it trails the record of $314.2 million established in 2013. That weekend saw a clash between Fast  Furious 6 and The Hangover III, and while this edition also fielded a high-profile matchup between X-Men and Alice in Wonderland sequels, overall ticket sales were somewhat disappointing. ComScore estimates that final grosses will end upat just over $200 million.Although the latest X-Men was the weekend's biggest winner, its opening paled in comparison to the $110.6 million debut of its predecessor, X-Men: Days of Future Past. The latest sequel in the long-running franchise is set in the '80s and finds the team of mutant heroes battling an all-powerful villain from the ancient world (Oscar Isaac). Fox backed the $178 million production, releasing it across 4,150 theaters in North America.Critics didn't cotton to the film, saddling it with a lackluster 48% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were more forgiving, handing the picture an A-minus CinemaScore. There won't be another comic-book movie in theaters until Suicide Squad hits in August, a spandex set reprieve that Fox hopes to take advantage of in the coming weeks.When you look at the competitive landscape and the audience score, we expect the film to last a little longer than most comic-book movies do, said Chris Aronson, Fox's domestic distribution chief.Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass will have to look abroad for help if it wants to salvage its $170 million production budget and the tens of millions it spent marketing and promoting the fantasy adventure.Its failure is more bad news for star Johnny Depp. The actor, formerly one of Hollywood's biggest draws, has suffered a string of flops such as Black Mass, Transcendence and The Lone Ranger. He is also embroiled in a divorce from Amber Heard. The actress has accused Depp of physically abusing her and filed for a restraining order. Photos of Heard's bruised face appeared in various media outlets, inspiring a wave of bad publicity for the film.Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis noted that Alice Through the Looking Glass is performing better overseas, where it made $65 million over the weekend, with a third of that coming from China.We're going to push as hard as we can to get as much box office as we can, said Hollis, who acknowledged that the results were disappointing.The two new releases were split in terms of their demographic appeal. X-Men: Apocalypse attracted an audience that was 62% male, while 57% of the opening crowd for Alice Through the Looking Glass was female.Premium formats helped lift Apocalypse's results, with premium large format locations delivering $7.8 millionof its earnings and Imax adding$3.6 million to its gross.RealD equipped 3D theaters grossed approximately $23.5 million for the four-day holiday weekend.Last weekend's champ, Sony's The Angry Birds Movie, took third place, with $24.6 million over the four-day span, bringing its domestic total to $72.2 million.Disney and Marvel's Captain America: Civil War officially became the year's highest-grossing domestic release, adding $19.7 million to its massive $377.2 million stateside gross. That's enough to knock Deadpool and its $362.8 million tally from its perch atop the year's biggest stateside earners.Universal's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising rounded out the top five, earning $11.2 million to bring its domestic gross to $40.4 million."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/box-office/x-men-alice-through-the-looking-glass-box-office-1201785276/
     Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in the Sony Pictures adaptation of Doc Savage.Shane Black is directing the pic from a script he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.Black made it clear while promoting his film The Nice Guys that he wanted Johnson for Doc Savage and Johnson made it official on his Instagram account Monday morning.https://www.instagram.com/p/BGCDhYSoh0x/Johnson also announced he will also produce the pic through his Seven Bucks Productions banner with along with Hiram Garcia.They will join Neal H. Moritz, who was previously attached to produce with Ori Marmur (Battle: Los Angeles) and Michael Uslan.One of the inspirations for the Superman character, Doc Savage is the story of a man with superheroic levels of intelligence and strength (who happens to be a brilliant scientist, inventor, and explorer), whichbegan as a series of pulp novels and a radio series.Johnson already has a busy summer ahead of him with his action comedy Central Intelligence bowing on June 17 and his TV show Ballers bowing in July.Next summer he has Baywatch and Fast and Furious 8 set to come out and also has Jumanji bowing atChristmas 2017.Johnson is repped by WME and Gang Tyre. Black is repped by WME and Greenlit."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/dwayne-johnson-doc-savage-1201785289/
     Hollywood movies occupied the four top spots at the Chinese box office over the weekend, but their scores and the combined cumulative performance were on the low side of ordinary by recent standards.“Alice Through The Looking Glass” opened in top spot with a three day weekend total of $26.3 million, deposing “The Angry Birds Movie.” That compares handsomely with the $34 million total achieved by “Alice in Wonderland” in China in 2010. But China’s box office has boomed since then, making such dated benchmarks almost meaningless.A more recent comparative is last week’s opening for “Angry Birds,” which achieved $30.2 million.In its second weekend, the “Birds” movie flapped on to $13.5 million for second place. Its score after 10 days is $51.3 million.Third place was taken by “Captain America: Civil War” which took $4.3 million over the weekend and edged its cumulative up to $186 million.“The Divergent Series: Allegiant” slipped from second to fourth with a sophomore weekend score of $2.7 million. After ten days it stands on $16.3 million.Fifth place was brought up by “Song of the Phoenix.” It earned $1 million for a 24 day total of $11.9 million."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/china-box-office-alice-looks-at-26-million-opening-1201785223/
     Fox's “X-Men: Apocalypse” opened in top spot at the Korean box office on Wednesday (May 25). Debuting on 1,258 screens nationwide, the Marvel-based superhero film earned $11.5 million from 1.63 million admissions over five days.The score is slightly lower than “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which made $13.3 million from 1.91 million admissions in 2014.The previous week's winner, local occult thriller “The Wailing” slipped to second. With a week-on-week drop of 53%, the Fox release managed $4.46 million between Friday and Sunday. It now stands on a total of $39.1 million from 5.68 million admissions after three weekends on release.UPI's “The Angry Birds Movie” dropped to third, earning $1.07 million between Friday and Sunday for a total of $2.92 million after two weekends.“Sing Street” climbed to fourth from last week's fifth, despite a 31% decline. The musical drama made $684,000 between Friday and Sunday and extended its total to $2.41 million after two weekends.Korean family drama, “Canola” slipped to fifth. Earning $529,000 between Friday and Sunday extended its total to $2.46 million after two weekends."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/korea-box-office-x-men-apocalypse-on-top-1201785226/
     Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass topped the foreign box office, earning a respectable $65 million this weekend from nearly 80 foreign territories.However, the fantasy adventure is still staring at a write-down after bombing domestically, where it earned a meagre $28.1 million in its opening weekend. By the time it ends its run, the follow-up to 2010's Alice in Wonderland will have a hard time even earning half of its predecessor's $1 billion global haul.Alice Through the Looking Glass did particularly well in China, where it generated an estimated $27.1 million. Other territories where it performed well include Mexico with $5 million, Russia with $4.6 million and Brazil with $4.1 million.In its second weekend of international release, Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse added $55 million to its haul. The superhero sequel has earned $250.8 million globally. The film has debuted in most major foreign territories, but China (June 3) and Japan (Aug. 11) are still on deck.Universal and Legendary's Warcraft got a jump on its domestic release, opening to $31.6 million from 20 foreign territories for a fourth place finish. It debuted in first place in Russia with $10 million and topped charts in Germany and France, earning $5.9 million and $4.5 million, respectively. The $160 million video game adaptation needs to do well overseas. It is facing fierce headwinds in North America, where it is tracking to open June 10 to a disappointing $25 million.Another video game adaptation, Sony's The Angry Birds Movie, nabbed third place with $31.8 million, bringing its worldwide gross to $223.5 million. Captain America: Civil War rounded out the top five with $12.5 million. The comic-book adventure is the highest-grossing 2016 release, having earned $1.1 billion worldwide."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/box-office/alice-through-the-looking-glass-box-office-1201785228/
     MADRID -- Diamond Films, part of Latin America’s Telefilms Group, its biggest independent movie distributor, has expanded to Europe, setting up Diamond Films España, a direct distribution operation in Spain headed by Spanish distrib vet Carles Montiel and Gonzalo Claiman Versini.Montiel has held executive positions at multiple Spanish independent distribution houses such as Lauren Films, Universal Pictures and Wide Pictures; Claiman Versini is a former lawyer at the Buenos Aires and Paris bar.Diamond Films España, which handles home entertainment and TV rights on movies it acquires, will release five titles in Spanish cinema theaters this year, beginning on July 29 with STX Ent.’s “Bad Moms.”Directed by “The Hangover” writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, and starring Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars”) and Kathryn Hahn (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”), “Bad Moms” is the first of four titles accessed by Diamond Films España via an output deal for Spain with STX Ent.Diamond Films España looks set to follow the same line of acquisitions as its counterparts in Latin America, releasing some of the most powerful upscale U.S. titles which are either offered to foreign distributors via output deals or sold on the open independent market.Also in Diamond Films España’s distribution pipeline from STX are: Supernatural horror movie “The Bye Bye Man,” from Stacy Title (“Let the Devil Wear Black”); adventure love-story “The Space Between Us,” directed by Peter Chisholm (“Serendipity”) and starring Asa Butterfield (“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”); and ‘Hardcore Henry,’ an adventure thriller shot from the first person and produced by Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”).Diamond Films España has also acquired for Spain “The Founder,” with Michael Keaton (“Spotlight,” “Birdman”) as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. The title was bought from Glen Basner’s FilmNation Ent.Part of the Telefilms Group, Diamond Films has seven direct distribution operations in Latin America, set up in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.Acquired mainly from the Sun Distribution Group, past Diamond Films releases include many of the highest-grossing independent hits of recent years: Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” and the “Hunger Games” film series.In Latin America, Diamond Films distributes about 30 movies a year. In Spain, it will look to release about 12-15 titles in 2017, Claiman Versini said.Driven by multiplexing and its pay TV window, dynamized by Netflix’s entry into the region, Latin America, after China, proved to be one of the fastest-growing movie markets in the world in terms of the coin pan-regional distributors could bring to the table for big indie movies with U.S. distribution. Over the last 24 months, however, the value of the pay TV looks to have plateau-ed.Diamond Films España launches in Spain, in contrast, as the territory shows signs of a box office renaissance. Gross box office in Spain rose 13% from a this-century low-point of €507.2 million ($563.5 million) in 2013 to €572.7 million ($636.0 million) last year, according to Spain’s Icaa film institute.“Our expansion into Spain is logical, almost obvious because of cultural, historical and language [links],” Claiman Versini said.He added: “Also, Spain was a very strong market until 2005 or 2006, then plunged a lot. We believe in Spain’s recuperation.”Scale also matters. Owned by Tomas Darcyl, Ricardo Costianovsky and Diego Halabi, the Telefilms Group launches in Spain via Diamond Films España as foreign distributors the world over face competition from both new Over-The-Top players that acquire global or multi-territory rights and Hollywood studios which frequently buy big titles in global or regional deals or for a slew of territories.“Film distribution is increasingly global. You have to open up to new territories,” Claiman Versini told Variety.European film-TV group Studiocanal already operates direct distribution operations in U.K., France, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Canada’s Entertainment One in Canada, U.K. Spain. Benelux and Australia/New Zealand.When competing for top titles which can face off at the box-office with studio and local blockbusters at the Latin American box office, Diamond Films can now bring another major movie market to the table. strengthening its negotiating muscle.Beyond theatrical distribution, Diamond Films Mexico and Telefilms have also entered local movie production, backing in Mexico “Que culpa tiene el niño,” which is coproduced with Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Films, producer of “Instructions Not Included.” Grossing a first 10-day $8 million in Mexico, it currently ranks as the biggest Mexican movie release of 2016. Claimant Versini said Diamond Films España does not discount the idea of distributing or even co-producing Spanish cinema, without necessarily taking rights for Latin America."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/latinamerican-distributor-diamond-films-moves-spain-1201785267/
     Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse and Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass squared off over Memorial Day weekend, but both blockbuster hopefuls emerged bruised from this box office clash of the titans.The latest X-Men adventure easily topped the weekend, earning an estimated $65 million. It is on pace to pull in over $76 million over the four-day spell. That's a solid start, but a significant drop off from the $110.5 million that the previous mutant team-up, X-Men: Days of Future Past, racked up over the 2014 Memorial Day holiday.Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson said he was exceptionally pleased with the results, and predicted that the film's A-minus CinemaScore would set it up for repeat business.It's a challenging marketplace, to be sure, but the domestic opening coupled with the international rollout puts us in terrific shape, he said.Overseas, X-Men: Apocalypse has made $185.8 million, which will bring its global haul to more than $260 million after the weekend.Related ContentAmber Heard Says Johnny Depp Is ‘Scary,’ Struggles with Drug and Alcohol AbuseThings were much bleaker for Alice Through the Looking Glass. The follow-up to 2010's Alice in Wonderland, which racked up more than $1 billion during its run, stumbled out of the gate, bombing with $28.1 million and a projected $35 million over the four-day period. That's a disastrous start for a film with an $170 million production budget.It's disappointing and it's head scratching to a certain degree, said Dave Hollis, Disney's distribution chief.He noted that the studio just passed $4 billion in record time, in part because it has decided to make fewer, but bigger-budgeted films. In the case of Zootopia or Captain America: Civil War that paid off with two of the highest-grossing hits of the year.We're always striving for higher-quality, branded films, said Hollis. We make these big bets and sometimes they really pay off. We took one here, but it did not do the kind of business we were hoping. You have to take everything in stride.The fantasy adventure will try to stanch the bleeding overseas, where Alice Through the Looking Glass grossed an estimated$65 million from such majorterritories as Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil. The film has opened in 72% of the international market, with France (June 1), Japan (July 1) and South Korea (Sept. 8) still on deck.Alice's opening is bad news for Johnny Depp, whose star has waned in recent years, its luster diminished by flops such as Mortdecai and Transcendence. The actor was in the headlines over the weekend after his wife Amber Heard filed for divorce, alleging abuse, creating public relations headaches for Disney.Heading into the holiday, some analysts expected X-Men: Apocalypse to debut to between $80 million and $100 million, and many box office sages projected an Alice launch in the $55 million range. The competition may have taken a chunk out of both film's ticket sales, although the movies were pitched at different audiences. X-Men was intended to draw men, while Alice was designed for female moviegoers.Some analysts believe that the Alice in Wonderland sequel couldn't compete in the crowded summer season. The first film debuted in the spring, when there were fewer major studio releases vying for attention.'X-Men' destroyed 'Alice,' no question, said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. That's what happens when a spring fling attempts to go full-tilt summer blockbuster. We've seen this happen in the past and it usually doesn't work out.Sony's The Angry Birds Movie took third place in its second weekend of release, earning $18.7 million, to bring its domestic haul to roughly $66.3 million. In fourth place, Captain America: Civil War added $15.1 million to its total. The superhero film has earned $377 million domestically, propelling it past Deadpool to become the year's highest-grossing stateside release.Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising rounded out the top five, nabbing $9.1 million to push its domestic gross to $40.4 million after two weeks in theaters.This won't be a Memorial Day weekend for the ages. ComScore is projecting that the overall box office will hit $204 million for the four-day period, an improvement over last year's $194.8 million, but a far cry from a record. In fact, the results won't even crack the top ten Memorial Day weekends.This Memorial Day didn't blow the doors off, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. Memorial weekends are supposed to be this barometer for the health of the industry at this point. It's sort of a report card."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/box-office/box-office-x-men-apocalypse-alice-through-the-looking-glass-2-1201785124/
     It says a lot about where the James Bond series has been over the last few years that yesterday’s announcement by director Sam Mendes — that he is stepping down from the franchise after having directed two entries — was greeted by Bond fans from around the world with something less than a collective cry of dismay. Opinion will differ as to the sort of job Mendes did (some believe that Skyfall was a Bondian apotheosis; this critic did not), but one thing should be clear: After four films with Daniel Craig, in what was meant to be not just a reboot or a relaunch but a veritable reimagining of Bond for the 21st century, the series, overall, has not truly lived up to that billing. And that’s a serious fumble, since the kickoff film of the new era, Casino Royale (2006), was a Bondian apotheosis. I’m not alone in thinking that it was the greatest Bond adventure since Goldfinger and Dr. No, and it established Daniel Craig’s 007 as, potentially, the first genuinely worthy successor to the diamond-hard magic of Sean Connery. Craig’s Bond was more of a ruffian, but he needed to be — these are rougher times — and in place of the smirk of Roger Moore, the scowl of Timothy Dalton, or the precision-watch cunning of Pierce Brosnan, he brought the role a brusque sensuality that masked a glint of omnipotent awareness, a surveillance of the world around him.Of course, the role of Bond is now up for grabs as well. Craig has indicated that he may well be done with it, and his rumored replacements include Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, and Jamie Bell. (I’d vote for them in that order.) So the reboot of the Bond series is now about to be rebooted. That raises an essential question: not just who’s going to be the next 007, or who’s going to direct the next film, but what will the series now become? And here’s the conundrum that underlies that question: What can — and should — the Bond series be in an age when almost everything it stands for has been absorbed and incorporated into other movies?Let’s play Name That Director for a moment, since it’s such an easy and irresistible parlor game to play. Who should be the next Bond director? The answers are as multiplicitous as they are tempting. I’d love to see a wizard of hair-trigger logistics like Paul Greengrass have a crack at it (then again, the Bourne films already are his Bond series), or an old-school action master like John McTiernan or Wolfgang Peteresen, or — yes — Quentin Tarantino, who you might argue, after the grinding-gears insularity of The Hateful Eight, could benefit from taking over the toy shop of Bond every bit as much as the series could benefit from him.QT sounds like a wild card, but my number-one choice would be an even wilder card: Kathryn Bigelow. She’s got the action virtuosity, the grasp of the ominous bureaucratic underworld in all its trap-door layers. But I believe that she could also restore the series to its glory in the realm where it has most dramatically slipped off track – namely, the hot-button arena of Bondian sexual politics. For let’s be honest: Without sex, without the erotic romance of James Bond’s mission in the world, what is 007, really, but another globe-trotting action hero (“Dateline: Grozny, 7:08 a.m.”) who happens to have a British accent and, for two or three scenes, wears a very posh tux? The truth is that the sexual politics of Bond — Bond as the ultimate mythical seducer, the master of women — cuts against the tenor of our age. That either makes Bond an anachronism, a bow-tied relic of the Connery/Hefner era, or it makes him something deeply subversive: a character who takes us back to a dream of erotic warfare, one that beneath our enlightened PC attitudes still reverberates like a primitive heartbeat.The beauty of the Martin Campbell-directed Casino Royale, and what makes it stand apart from the three Bond films that followed, is the way that it looked forward and back at the same time. Yes, Skyfall looked back too, but in a misplaced way. It provided Bond with a Freudian backstory, but explaining a character like James Bond is a bit like explaining Hannibal Lecter: The more you explain, the more you shave away the character's cooler-than-life/deadlier-than-life mystique. Casino Royale was an infinitely more inspired throwback. Craig’s Bond, with his cocky nihilist glare, was very much a suavely tailored jungle animal of today, yet the whole sprawling centerpiece of the movie was…a card game. Set in a luxury resort in Switzerland. The face-off between Craig and Mads Mikkelsen was a tingly reminder of how even a violent spy thriller could be built around a duel of eye contact. And that felt, for maybe the first time in decades, like the quintessence of Bond. The eye contact extended to the dazzling, multi-leveled deceptive flirtations between Craig and Eva Green. There was something epic at stake in that love story. At the end of the movie, when a grand palazzo in Venice began to buckle, it looked like the Western world was caving in.That’s the kind of rousing poetic action grandeur that the Bond series deserves. And without it, what really are we talking about? The truth is that James Bond’s missions no longer seem any more impossible than anyone else’s. That’s part of what made the frantic mish-mosh of last year's Spectre so dispiriting. Whoever does take over the series, the challenge isn't about howthey’re going to stage this or update that. The challenge is finding a vision of who James Bond is. Whoever directs the next installment has to do more than just extend the franchise. He (or she) needs to bring this spy in from the cold."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/columns/james-bond-daniel-craig-sam-mendes-kathryn-bigelow-1201785140/
     Often, when a film wraps and directors are asked about working with big actors, it's all praise. It's a different story, however, with Begin Again director John Carney and Keira Knightley.Carney, promoting his latest movie Sing Street, spoke about working with Knightley in 2013 drama Begin Again, saying he wouldn't like to work with the actress again.I'll never make a film with supermodels again, he told the Independent in an interview published this weekend.Knightley has indeed appeared in ad campaigns for big brands like Chanel, as well as on covers of major fashion magazines. She did, though, make a name for herself in acting first, with 1995's A Village Affair marking her first film role.Knightley played a songwriter dumped by her musician boyfriend, played by Adam Levine, in Begin Again. She then embarks on a new path in making music with Mark Ruffalo's character. Carney had much more favorable memories of working with Levine and Ruffalo than with Knightley.Mark Ruffalo is a fantastic actor and Adam Levine is a joy to work with and actually quite unpretentious and not a bit scared of exposing himself on camera and exploring who he is as an individual, he said. I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.Carney also claimed that Knightley's entourage made it difficult to get any real work done, and stated a difference between working with proper film actors and movie stars.It’s not like I hate the Hollywood thing, but I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars, he added. I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.Knightley does have several big acting accomplishments to her name, including multiple Oscar, BAFTA and SAG nominations. Director David Cronenberg praised her performance in his 2011 film A Dangerous Mind, telling Film Comment that she was one of the best actresses he's ever worked with. She was fantastic, he said. We were all just awestruck."        Links: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/john-carney-keira-knightley-begin-again-1201785176/