Focus Features Passes $1 Billion Mark, Announces 2010 Slate -- and it's Exciting! 


Focus Features, the little engine that could, has passed $1 billion mark in domestic box-office!

Focus Features CEO James Schamus said, “Next year’s Focus slate follows one of the company’s best years ever – our eighth profitable year in a row since our inception, and the year in which we passed the $1 billion mark in cumulative domestic box office alone.

“Our 2010 lineup is as audacious as any in our history, ranging from American indies like Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story to big international productions like Anton Corbijn’s The American.”

I love Focus Features and its stance on quality filmmaking! This year, the studio delighted us with "Away We Go," "Coraline," "Taking Woodstock," "9," "A Serious Man," and "Pirate Radio."

Next year, the studio is set to delight us more! Check out their upcoming releases:

Opening in select cities on Friday, March 12th will be "Greenberg," starring Ben Stiller opposite Greta Gerwig. Noah Baumbach, an Academy Award nominee for his original screenplay of "The Squid and the Whale" (which he also directed), wrote "Greenberg" from a story conceived by Jennifer Jason Leigh and himself. Scott Rudin, an Academy Award winner as producer of No Country for Old Men, and Ms. Leigh are producing the movie, to which Focus holds worldwide rights. At a crossroads in his life, Roger Greenberg (played by Mr. Stiller) ends up housesitting at his brother’s home in Los Angeles. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his brother’s assistant Florence (Ms. Gerwig), an aspiring singer. Florence and Greenberg’s encounters lead to an uncertain and wonderfully vulnerable courtship.

"Babies" will open in select cities domestically on Friday, April 16th. Focus also has select international rights to the feature, directed by Thomas Balmès from an original idea by Alain Chabat, who produced the movie with Amandine Billot and Christine Rouxel through his Chez Wam production company. The film simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. Re-defining the nonfiction art form, "Babies" joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

Opening nationwide on Wednesday, September 1st will be director Anton Corbijn’s "The American," starring Academy Award winner George Clooney in the title role. "The American" is Mr. Corbijn’s second feature film as director, following the award-winning 2007 drama "Control." Focus holds worldwide rights to the suspense thriller, which is currently in production on location in Italy. Alone among assassins, Jack (played by Mr. Clooney) is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Larry (Bruce Altman) that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues romance with local woman Clara (Violante Placido). But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate. The screenplay by Rowan Joffe is adapted from Martin Booth’s novel A Very Private Gentleman, published in 2005. The film’s producers are This is that’s Anne Carey; Smokehouse’s Grant Heslov; Smokehouse’s Mr. Clooney; Ann Wingate; and Jill Green.

The Roman epic adventure "The Eagle of the Ninth" will open nationwide in the third quarter of 2010. The film is co-financed by Film4 with Focus, which holds worldwide rights excluding U.K. free-TV. The Eagle of the Ninth, which wraps production on location in Scotland next week, is directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald and produced by Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee Duncan Kenworthy. Jeremy Brock, BAFTA Award-winning screenwriter of Mr. Macdonald’s 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, has adapted the screenplay from Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel of the same name. The Eagle of the Ninth is set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (played by Channing Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell), Marcus sets out across Hadrian’s Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia – to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father’s memory, and retrieve the lost legion’s golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth. The movie also stars Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, and Tahar Rahim.

Acclaimed writer/directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s ("Half Nelson," "Sugar") new film "It’s Kind of a Funny Story" will open in select cities in November 2010. Production begins in New York City in early December 2009. Focus holds worldwide rights to the feature, which it is co-financing with Wayfare Entertainment. Kevin Misher is producing It’s Kind of a Funny Story with Ben Browning. The comedy-drama has been adapted by Ms. Boden & Mr. Fleck from Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel of the same name; 16-year-old Craig (to be played by Keir Gilchrist), stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, checks himself into a mental health clinic. There he learns that the youth ward is closed – and finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old, Noelle (Emma Roberts). With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up. Also starring are Viola Davis, Zoe Kravitz, Aasif Mandvi, Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan.

Reuniting writer/director Sofia Coppola with the film company with which she made the Academy Award-winning worldwide hit "Lost in Translation," Focus will release her new movie "Somewhere" in 2010, with the exact date not yet set. Focus also has select international rights to the feature. In addition to directing Somewhere from her original screenplay, Ms Coppola is producing the feature with Roman Coppola and G. Mac Brown through American Zoetrope. Somewhere is the story of Johnny Marco (played by Stephen Dorff), a bad-boy actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood. With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning), Johnny is forced to look at the questions we all must confront.


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Martin Scorsese to be Honored at Golden Globes 


Martin Scorsese is set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards! The honor is for his ”outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” I totally agree!

Scorsese received two Golden Globes before for Best Director for his films "The Departed" and "Gangs of New York."

Recent Cecil B. DeMille Award recipients include Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Douglas. Wait, they're all men, where are the women?

The Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 17th.

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MGM, the Once Mighty Lion, May Go On Sale, and the Famous Logo too! 


It's one of the most iconic logos and that, along with MGM and its film library, may go on sale too!

Variety tells us that several sources say they expect that MGM will essentially be auctioned off within the next few weeks.

But wait, it gets confusing. One company could buy the MGM-UA library, while another might purchase the logo, and yet another could buy United Artists. Whew!

Find out why MGM may go on sale and when by clicking here.

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"2012" Interview with Chiwetel Ejiofor 


I may not like "2012" that much, but I enjoyed Chiwetel Ejiofor as one of the film's heroes. Here's what I said in my movie review about the actor:

One of my favorite scenes involves actor Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays the president’s chief science advisor. He’s warning his cruise-ship singer father, played by Blu Mankuma, about the imminent disaster. These two great actors are not even shown in a scene together – they’re talking on the phone – but their performances resonate emotionally.


So when I interviewed the actor via satellite, we talked about:

His experience working in "2012"
His character
Working with director Roland Emmerich
Does he believe in 2012?



Here's more info on "2012" from Yahoo:

Action/Adventure, Science Fiction and Thriller

November 13, 2009

Rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language.

STARRING
John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson

DIRECTED BY
Roland Emmerich

Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. A global cataclysm brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.

Also Known As:
Farewell Atlantis
Two-thousand Twelve
Production Status: In Production/Awaiting Release
Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Thriller
Release Date: November 13th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language.
Distributors:
Sony Pictures Releasing
Production Co.:
Centropolis Entertainment, Mark Gordon Company
Studios:
Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Filming Locations:
Los Angeles, California, United States
Los Angeles, California, USA
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Produced in: United States

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"2012" Movie Review! It's Wonderfully Messy! 


Like its reported over bloated budget of $260 million, everything about “2012” is huge and expansive. From the film’s length (158 minutes!) to the special effects, and all the way to its believability factor, “2012” is a film of massive proportions.


Different kinds of epic proportions awaits us in the year 2012. According to the film, the apocalypse is near. The Mayan calendar is set to reach the end of its 13th cycle on December 21, 2012 – and nothing follows that date. “2012” tells the story of what’s to come. Read More...

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