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How the smartest movie-theater owner in the country has severely jeopardized his company's brand


Alamo Drafthouse NYC 4527

  • Alamo Drafthouse is one of the most successful independent theater chains in the US with its mixture of fun programming and tasty food and drinks.
  • CEO Tim League is navigating the company's first major controversy following the rehiring of a movie blogger who was accused of sexual assault last year.
  • League now sets forth with the biggest challenge of the company's 20-year existence: proving Alamo Drafthouse is not just a "boys' club" and rebuilding trust.

Tim League casually sipped a beer on the outdoor patio of a bar in Toronto, as the hustle of this year's Toronto International Film Festival rushed past him. Before joining the fray, the owner of one of the most successful independent movie chains in the US, Alamo Drafthouse, was happy to have a moment to reflect.

"I feel really blessed that this is my job," League told Business Insider. "I'm here working at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I saw three really good movies yesterday."

Forty-eight hours later, League's festival only got better when the distribution company he cofounded, Neon, beat out Netflix to nab the biggest title at TIFF, "I, Tonya," for $5 million. The darkly comedic look at the rise and fall of the US figure skater Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie) is expected to be Neon's first Oscar contender when it opens in theaters later this year.

But things drastically changed for League the following day, when the site Pajiba ran a story revealing that the Drafthouse CEO had rehired a blogger named Devin Faraci, the former editor-in-chief of the Drafthouse-owned Birth.Movies.Death movie site who resigned after being accused of sexual assault last year. Faraci came back as a copy editor, and he wrote film blurbs for this year's guide to the company's annual genre film festival, Fantastic Fest (which kicks off Thursday in Austin, Texas).

Social media and the film world instantly went into an uproar, particularly because news that Faraci rejoined the company came just 11 months after he stepped down. The result led a Fantastic Fest programmer to resign, Faraci to resign for a second time, and League to make numerous public apologies.

For a company that has built a reputation on being young, hip, and fun — three things all of the major multiplexes in the world wish they were — the controversies Drafthouse is most familiar with usually come from a unique idea devised by League or by the creative directors at one of the 29 Alamo Drafthouse theaters across the country.

Themyscira represent! Hippolyta is flanked by Wonder Women of many eras at our Richardson theater. 📸 Eli Luna

A post shared by Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas (@drafthouse) on Jun 2, 2017 at 4:52pm PDT on

A recent example was over the summer, when Alamo Drafthouse held all-women screenings of "Wonder Woman." The negative reaction by some men on social media blindsided League, who recalled carrying out an all-women screening for the first "Sex and the City" movie in 2008 in Austin with zero objections. The "Wonder Woman" version resulted in three lawsuits (two are still ongoing). And when League got word that a man showed up to one of the screenings at the Drafthouse in Brooklyn, New York, he almost cleared out another screen in the theater and had the gentleman sit and watch "Wonder Woman" there all by himself. But the idea never came to fruition.

"That's where sometimes I have to check myself," League said.

But that's all fun and games to League, and it plays well with Drafthouse customers. The Faraci controversy, however, put League and his company in the unfamiliar place of being on the wrong side of an issue for its audience.

Building the fandom

Alamo Drafthouse started out in Austin 20 years ago, when League and his wife, Karrie, renovated an old building into a second-run theater. It stood out for the weird and unusual movies that played there, but what made it addictive was that the theater provided its customers with the option to eat and drink alcohol at their seats while watching the movies. As the company evolved and become a chain, so did the specialties of the menu and drinks (which often are themed to movies playing at that particular time at the Alamo). And with the evolution of online ticketing, and no need for ticket windows, Alamo Drafthouse lobbies are now bars. All of this has made the feeling of visiting an Alamo Drafthouse more than just seeing a movie. It's an all-night experience. And most multiplexes and independent theaters have been playing catch-up for the past two decades, trying to capture some of Alamo Drafthouse's cool factor.

League said all he's doing was returning to the model of the 1940s and 1950s, before the multiplex was created, when individual theaters had to focus on marketing to their cities or towns to get patrons in the door.

"A lot of what we do is not that innovative," he said. "It really goes back to older traditions of establishing that bond with your core audience."

I have seen that love for all things Drafthouse firsthand, and it's quite impressive.

My first taste was in Austin in 2013. Alamo Drafthouse likes to do road shows across the US in the summer. Past events have included an outdoor screening of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in Wyoming by the movie's epic Devils Tower location and a screening of "Jaws" on a floating screen in a body of water, with viewers watching on inner tubes.

The road show I attended was for "Snowpiercer," Bong Joon-ho's postapocalyptic thriller set on a train. For the event, we all loaded onto a train and traveled to an open field about an hour away to screen the movie. League was there, as was Bong, and even the director Nicolas Winding Refn hopped on the train at the last minute. But there were also 100 or so dedicated Alamo Drafthouse patrons who attended the event. After the movie, we all got back on the train and partied all the way back to the station, each car themed like the dystopian movie.

fantastic fest

A year later, I saw the Drafthouse fandom at its most insane when I attended Fantastic Fest (the 10th anniversary of the festival, no less). The event was located at Alamo Drafthouse's crown jewel in Austin, its South Lamar theater, which houses nine screens, two bars, an arcade, and seven karaoke rooms. But the attendance at the festival was even more incredible. Every night the crowds waiting to see movies were so big they would spill from the lobby to outside the venue. It was a mix of locals and fanboys. Some of them had even traveled from other countries to be a part of it.

The loyal Alamo Drafthouse fandom is an impressive sight in an era when interest in the moviegoing experience has diminished greatly. And League, who is a modern-day P.T. Barnum for all things Alamo, is certainly aware of it. With the internet and social-media reaction king, the CEO believes being a tastemaker and understanding patron needs are vital to his business.

"Yelp, Facebook, the customer experience is job number one," League said. "You can't ignore data streams or any trends."

But despite League's efforts, Alamo Drafthouse is swirling in a bad trend.

The 'boys' club' stigma

Last September, Faraci tweeted about Donald Trump's now-infamous leaked comments from an "Access Hollywood" taping. In those comments, Trump had bragged that his celebrity allowed him to grope women. A woman replied to Faraci on Twitter, however, and accused him of having grabbed her genitals at a bar in the past. The public accusations, which Faraci did not deny, ultimately led to his resignation last year.

After Pajiba broke the news last Tuesday of Faraci’s rehiring, League took to Facebook that evening. He confirmed that he brought Faraci back into the company as a copywriter and to write film blurbs — and he said he hoped people would understand the decision to give Faraci a second chance.

"I understand there's some discomfort with the idea that Devin is once again employed by the Alamo Drafthouse," League wrote in the post. "However, I am very much an advocate for granting people second chances, and I believe that Devin deserves one. He continues to confront his issues and to better himself with the help of his friends and family. I am proud to consider myself a part of this process."

Here's the entire statement:

League's explanation didn't go over well. The post was flooded with hundreds of comments, many disappointed in the CEO's doubling down on the rehiring. On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter published a story indicating that another woman had emailed League shortly after Faraci's 2016 resignation to accuse Faraci of sexually harassing her. An email exchange with the woman didn't put League in a good light. In an email back to the woman, League asked her to keep their conversation between them.

Also on Wednesday, Todd Brown resigned as Fantastic Fest's international programmer. He posted his own thoughts on Facebook, in which he said he was "embarrassed and ashamed" to have worked at Drafthouse.

"Rehabilitation is a noble and worthwhile pursuit, to be sure, but it is also one that requires the involvement of a community," Brown wrote. "Forgiveness is fantastic but forgiveness is the sole purview of the person who has been wronged. Tim, bluntly, does not get to forgive Devin for Devin's alleged — and undisputed — sexual assault. Only the victim gets to do that. And where was she in this? Where was the concern for any victim of sexual violence and the message this would send to them? While I do not believe there was any malice in the decision to bring Faraci back there was, however, a clear, undeniable and arguably even callous disregard for the impact of this decision on anyone not named Devin Faraci."

Here's Brown's full statement:

Brown touched on an element that had many in an uproar, that League chose to rehire Faraci without consulting his employees or Faraci's accusers. At TIFF, he had just told Business Insider that one his major learnings in the 20 years of Alamo Drafthouse had been how important employee feedback was in improving the company.

"In the early years we would think, 'We're a good company — our employees like working here because it’s a cool company,' but we never measured anything," League said. "Now we realize, 'Oh my god, why don't we just increase our communication with our staff to say how can this be a good place to work?' That's certainly changed for us."

On Wednesday evening, League sent an industry-wide memo to his company announcing that he had accepted Faraci's resignation. League also posted another statement on Facebook.

"Over the past few days, I've realized that decisions I have made over these past months have been problematic,"League wrote. "I am concerned about what these choices may say about me and the values of this company to employees, customers and the community at large. I'm humbled and deeply sorry.”

But that didn't stop Fox Searchlight from pulling Oscar-favorite "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" from this year's Fantastic Fest.

Searching for redemption

The controversy comes at a time when the independent theater community is already suffering a black eye from sexual-harassment claims. In August, two top employees of the Los Angeles art-house staple Cinefamily stepped down after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. The theater has since suspended all activity.

It's very unlikely that Alamo Drafthouse will be closing up shop over its controversy, but the two instances are similar in that they shine a light on the male-controlled theater-chain industry. For Drafthouse, however, it goes a step further. Steeped in the male-heavy genre world, what drives the fandom of Drafthouse, its festival, website, and merchandise company Mondo are the voices (and social-media reach) of the predominantly male bloggers and fans who attend events and frequent the theaters. Take Fantastic Fest. It's incredible to see how male-heavy it is. I've never been to an event where the line to the men's room is twice as long as the women's.

"Anyone who has ever suggested that Fantastic Fest and the Drafthouse is just the geek friendly equivalent of the classic Old Boys Club, you have just been proven correct," Brown wrote at the end of his Facebook post. "We have just seen that Club in action. There it is, the Club utterly ignoring the victim while it creates a protective ring around the perpetrator. Telling every woman who has ever been harassed or assaulted that the predatory males around them will be protected if they are a part of the Club. Telling every woman that the Sad Man whose life is a shambles because of his own actions deserves help and support in putting himself back together while she deserves … nothing."

alamo drafthouse AP

League now sets forth with perhaps the biggest challenge of his 20 years in the business: proving that Alamo Drafthouse can go beyond the beer-drinking, hard-partying, good-ol'-time-for-bros persona that has made it a powerhouse in the industry.

League, who declined numerous requests for a follow-up interview with Business Insider following the controversy, wrote in his statement regarding Faraci's permanent resignation from Alamo Drafthouse that he had begun setting up meetings with employees at all his theaters to hear their thoughts on his controversial decision.

"Transparency, consistency, and credibility are crucial at this point to restore his reputation and that of Alamo Drafthouse," Dr. Nir Kossovsky, the CEO of the risk-management company Steel City Re, told Business Insider.

Though League always seems to place Alamo Drafthouse in a progressive position — unintentionally with the "Wonder Woman" screenings and intentionally with providing gender-neutral restrooms at his theaters last year — he's also known in the industry for being extremely loyal, and that seems to be what backfired here.

Sources tell Business Insider that League was simply looking out for a friend but had since regretted that decision and was driven to make amends. In the past week, League has reached out to Faraci's accusers to apologize and is starting the long road back to gaining the trust of not just the Alamo Drafthouse patrons but his staff.

At TIFF, when talking about the evolution of the company over the past 20 years, and the responsibility that comes with building a brand, League on numerous times mentioned the importance of making sure not just that customers are having a great time but that the people working for him are as well. This controversy is surely a sobering reminder to League that he still needs to work on the latter.

"We are a real company now," League said. "Still a little rough around the edges."

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The 10 biggest box-office bombs of 2017 so far, after a dismal summer


the house warner bros

The fall movie season has started strong as Warner Bros.’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel “It” has followed its record-breaking $123.4 million opening weekend by becoming the highest-grossing R-rated horror of all time two weeks later. 

But there are numerous titles that have not found the same success.

For every 2017 hit like “It,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Wonder Woman,” there are movies that didn't find audiences like “CHiPs,” “The House,” and “mother!”

Here are the 10 worst box office earners so far this year (compare them to our list from the halfway point of the year). 

Note: This selection is limited to only those titles released by the six major studios that have played in more than 2,000 screens for at least two weekends. Grosses below are all US earnings from Box Office Mojo.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 11 best movies of the year so far

10. "Ghost in the Shell"— $40.5 million

Reported budget: $110 million

(Note: Production budgets are estimates and do not include expenses for marketing and release.)

9. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword"— $39.1 million

Reported budget: $175 million

8. "Monster Trucks"— 33.3 million

Reported budget: $125 million

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 20 actors who have made the most money at the U.S. box office


Samuel L Jackson Pulp Fiction

The most successful actors in Hollywood history have combined talent, versatility, and longevity to appear in blockbuster hit after hit.  

Samuel L. Jackson, for instance — the highest-earning actor in the history of the U.S. box office — has all three qualities in spades.

We turned to Box Office Mojo to rank the top 20 actors of all time by their total career hauls at the U.S. box office.

Most are well-known, like Jackson and Tom Hanks. But others, like the "Star Wars" C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels, are not, though their careers speak for themselves.

Check out the chart below, and find a list of the actors here:


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'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is a silly sequel that pales in comparison to the original


taron egerton kingsman golden circle

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "Kingsman: The Golden Circle."

20th Century Fox's highly-anticipated sequel to "Kingsman" debuted in theaters this past weekend. While it won the box office opening weekend with $39 million, don't let that number fool you.

The follow-up to director Matthew Vaughn's 2015 surprise hit is a huge letdown. 

"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" had a lot of promise with the return of original cast members Taron Egerton and Colin Firth along with the addition of a few big A-list stars and Oscar winners, including Halle Berry and Channing Tatum starring as the secret agency's Statesman colleagues in the United States. Unfortunately, their presence couldn't help lift up a silly sequel that revolves around a drug cartel run by Julianne Moore's goofy and villainous Poppy which poisons millions of people across the world.

Why you probably cared:

Not only did the original director come back to direct the sequel with the original cast, but the film had the talents of Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Julianne Moore. How could they fail? Let us count the ways.

Why it misfires:

kingsman julianne moore

From the moment you see a severed robotic arm hack into a computer to find the location of every Kingsman, you start to groan internally. It only gets more bizarre and wacky from there. Robotic dogs, cannibalism, and a surprise extended cameo from Sir Elton John are just a few of the things you don't expect to see on screen. 

The biggest misstep of "The Golden Circle" is under-utilizing and wasting its spectacular talent. Julianne Moore isn't convincing as Poppy Adams, the brains behind a drug cartel that's out to poison millions of her customers.

It's tougher to stomach Tatum and Berry's characters named Agent Tequila and Gingerale, respectively. Jeff Bridges goes by Agent Campagne. It's supposed to be funny, but it's not. Instead, you start to wonder if there's some sort of joke you missed that you weren't let in on. Berry is reduced to a tech support gal who longs of working in the field. If you were expecting to see a lot Tatum, sorry. Scheduling conflicts reduced the star's role and he lies limp on a table most of the film after he's poisoned by Poppy's toxin.

channing tatum halle berry kingsman

I'm pretty sure Elton John gets more dialogue and screen time than Tatum playing himself. There's a scene where the "Rocket Man" singer watches a man viciously torn apart by two robot dogs (you can't make this stuff up), and I think that sums up much of what you need to know about the movie.

What's Hot:

taron egerton kingsman the golden circle

For as silly as the sequel is, all of the action scenes are really enjoyable and capture the essence of what made the first film enjoyable. The opening sequence of Eggsy (Egerton) being chased through London makes you hopeful for the rest of the film. Unfortunately, these scenes are far and few between a lot of exposition and silly moments including an awkward one where Eggsy has to plant a GPS tracker in a girl's vagina. The camera actually moves to take us on the tracker's route. This is an actual thing that happens in this movie.

It's also nice to see Eggsy reunited with Harry (Colin Firth) on screen, though the reunion takes far too long after it's teased in trailers. "Game of Thrones" star Pedro Pascal gets some time to shine as a two-timing agent who gets a cool laser lasso that feels like something out of "Star Wars."

pedro pascal kingsman

I checked out the film in 4DX and the motion of the chair during action scenes made the otherwise insufferable film worthwhile, but the rest of the film feels cobbled together around a plot that sounds like it would have worked in a "Catwoman" sequel. The movie also runs tediously long at 141 minutes.

The bottom-line:

harry umbrella kingsman

The first "Kingsman" is great for its ability to balance quirky dialogue and the unexpected with great action sequences. The sequel lost some of the magic that made the first one really special with too many outlandish moments and too much Elton John. Yes, "Kingsman" is based loosely on a comic series of the same name, but the overall tone of the movie feels like a cartoonish, goofy adaptation.

Sorry Harry. A-list talent alone does not maketh a good movie.You need a good script too. Save some cash and go see "It" or anything else. You can wait for this one to come out on home video.



"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" is in theaters now. You can watch a trailer for the movie below.

SEE ALSO: 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' wins a bland weekend at the box office

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8 years after the original, the 'Avatar' sequels have finally begun production on a $1 billion budget



It has finally begun. 

James Cameron's ambitious sequels to his 2009 box office hit, "Avatar"— which is the highest-grossing worldwide release of all time with over $2.7 billion — began production on Monday, according to Deadline.

But like all things Cameron does, he is going into uncharted territory, as the director will be making the four "Avatar" sequels in succession. The closest franchise to do this was New Line's "The Lord of the Rings" movies, in which director Peter Jackson shot all three movies at the same time. 

The price tag to pull off Cameron's epic movies: over $1 billion, according to Deadline. 

However, Cameron has not just "Avatar" under his belt but the previous all-time box office champion, "Titanic." So if any director is worthy of that kind of budget it's him. And the money will not go to waste. Along with the obvious money that goes into making four blockbusters, Cameron plays to elevate the 3D Imax experience to present the movies to us. 

20th Century Fox plans to release the first Avatar sequel on December 18, 2020, the next movie is to be released a year later, with the last two in December 2024 and 2025.

But we'll see if Fox can keep Cameron to that schedule. 

SEE ALSO: The "It" sequel just got an official release date — here's everything we know

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Why 'The Dark Tower' movie failed, according to Stephen King


dark tower

Stephen King has had a huge year for adaptations of his written works, with "It" becoming one of the highest-grossing horror movies of all time and with two Netflix movies ("Gerald's Game" and "1922") still on the way.

But one movie, the sci-fi Western "The Dark Tower," stands out as an abject critical failure — with a 16% "rotten" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes — and King spoke with Vulture about why he thought the film tanked.

The 70-year-old author described the difficulty of condensing a book series into a 95-minute film, and he referred to the coming TV series adaption of "The Dark Tower" as a "complete reboot" of the film:

"The major challenge was to do a film based on a series of books that’s really long, about 3,000 pages. The other part of it was the decision to do a PG-13 feature adaptation of books that are extremely violent and deal with violent behavior in a fairly graphic way. That was something that had to be overcome, although I've gotta say, I thought [screenwriter] Akiva Goldsman did a terrific job in taking a central part of the book and turning it into what I thought was a pretty good movie. The TV series they're developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It would be like a complete reboot, so we'll just have to see."

Though "The Dark Tower" suffered critical panning, the film did earn a worldwide total of $110.2 million against a $60 million production budget.

Production for the TV series adaptation of the book is slated to begin in 2018.

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How 2 directors, 125 artists, and some crazy-rich Van Gogh fans made the world's first painted feature film


LV Vincent Robert Gulaczyk in colour

Six years ago, Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman hatched a crazy idea: to create the world’s first painted feature film.

The subject? The final days of Vincent van Gogh.

They knew it would be a tough sell.

Hundreds of paintings, many unsuccessful meetings with film financiers, and $5 million later, the film Loving Vincent makes its New York premiere today.

The animation-style, stop-motion film is made entirely from real oil paintings; the result looks as if Van Gogh’s vivid figures have come to life. The story considers what might have happened if Van Gogh did not kill himself, but was in fact murdered.

The journey to make the film was an uphill battle. “When we decided we were going to paint an entire film, we thought that was going to be the toughest part,” Welchman tells artnet News. But instead, “among the hardest challenges was raising the money for it.”

Film financiers are notoriously risk-averse, and this project had no industry comparables to speak of. Potential backers doubted the film would finish in its projected two-year time frame and were suspicious of the novel format.

“Film financiers were very interested in what we’re doing and they know Van Gogh has a lot of fans,”Kobiela says. “They wanted numbers and information about other films that had been done this way. But since no one has ever done this kind of film, we didn’t have any numbers.”

In the end, they managed to create the film for $5 million, a modest sum by Hollywood standards. “This film wouldn’t have gotten made if we didn’t have crazy-rich individuals who love Vincent and took a gamble,” Welchman says.

Screen Shot 2017 09 25 at 4.41.04 PMThe plot centers around Armand Roulin (played by Douglas Booth)—the son of Van Gogh’s friend, postman Joseph Roulin (played by Chris O’Dowd)—who travels to Auvers-sur-Oise in search of the real story of the artist’s death. Along the way, he meets a wide cast of characters, including the artist’s physician Dr. Gachet (played by Jerome Flynn), Gachet’s daughter, Marguerite (played by Saiorse Ronan), and the keeper of the inn where the artist stayed (Eleanor Tomlinson).

Why tell the story in paintings? “You can’t tell Vincent’s story without his paintings,” Kobiela says. “Van Gogh completely dedicated the last nine years of his life to his artistic quests.”

loving vincentBut the logistics were not quite as simple as the concept. It took the duo four years to develop the proper technique—only then could they begin the two-year production process. Loving Vincent was first shot as a live action film with actors; then, the directors recruited an army of artists to paint each frame in the style of Van Gogh. All told, 125 artists worked on the film. “The most we had working at any one time was 97,” Welchman says.

Most of the team—a unit of up to 66 people—worked in Gdańsk at a studio near the filmmakers’ home in northern Poland. Smaller groups of painters worked in Bratislav, in western Poland, and Athens.

The total number of paintings required to create the hour-and-a-half-long film is staggering. Each shot was translated into one painting—though some longer shots involved multiple canvases—which the artists updated frame by frame according to the action in the shot.

To capture changing backgrounds, facial expressions, and movement, each canvas was re-painted an average of 76 times. Between them, the artists executed a total of 65,000 frames in oil paint. (Each second of the film is equivalent to 12 frames.)

loving vincentSurprisingly, however, the directors said this process went relatively smoothly. “Animation is all about preparation. We spent a lot of time preparing,” Welchman says.

At the end of shooting, the directors were left with 845 paintings, each depicting the last frame of each shot. (While many of those involved in the film got to take a painting home, several canvases are now available for purchase on the film’s website for prices ranging from around $1,200 to more than $9,500.)

The film has been shown at several festivals, including Telluride earlier this month and the Annecy Film Festival in France this past June, where it got a 10-minute standing ovation, according to Welchman. Following today’s New York premiere, the film will open on a rolling basis at theaters throughout the US.

The movie has also gotten the stamp of approval from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which helped with research and plans to screen the film this fall and support wider distribution in the Netherlands. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris, to which the real Dr. Gachet gifted 26 Van Gogh paintings, is also planning to show it, Welchman says.

Kobiela, who pored over hundreds of Van Gogh letters during the research process, says she couldn’t imagine exploring Van Gogh’s story any other way. In a letter Van Gogh wrote just one week before his death, he said, “We cannot speak other than by our paintings.”

See the trailer here:

SEE ALSO: Watch the beautiful trailer for the new Van Gogh film, made entirely out of animated oil paintings

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Tom Cruise's new movie is a bland look at one of the 1980s most infamous drug runners


American Made 2 Universal final

I have to be honest, the life of Barry Seal is quite interesting. 

Seal was a former airline pilot whose talents caught the eye of not just the CIA, but the White House and Pablo Escobar. His life was just begging to be made into a movie. But it might not have been wise to make it into a satirical comedy starring Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman (behind multiple "Bourne Identity" movies and "Edge of Tomorrow"). 

"American Made" (opening Friday), is an entertaining look at Seal's infamous career as a drug runner for Escobar and the Medellín cartel, bag man for the US and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and gun runner for the Reagan-supported Contras. But it takes huge leaps in creative license — I highly doubt in real life the DEA, state troopers, and the FBI all converged on Seal's hanger to bust him at the exact same moment, as depicted in the movie. In the effort to be fun and slick, "American Made" loses its teeth and is relegated to Tom Cruise doing the two things he's best at: being a charmer and daredevil.

The movie is a cookie-cutter version of past movies on the topic.

The wave of cocaine that flooded into the US has been told in movies (let's not even count the numerous books) as far back as Brian De Palma's 1983 classic, "Scarface." Since then, others like the documentary "Cocaine Cowboys," and the 2001 Johnny Depp movie "Blow," have elevated the story, delving deeper into the risks involved to get the drugs to the States, and the unconventional ways to house the mountains of cash.    

If you've never seen those movies, then you're going to love "American Made."

For the rest of us, it's an entertaining flick filled with Tom Cruise grins and a forgettable "American Dream" plot that will be great viewing when it's on cable. 

SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2017 so far, after a dismal summer

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The 10 biggest US box-office winners of 2017, so far


Guardians Disney

This year at the movies has been a roller-coaster ride when it comes to the box office.

It was on a high at the beginning of the year, with surprise performers like “Get Out” and “Logan” holding court until Disney’s live-action remake “Beauty and the Beast” flexed its muscles.

Then the summer came and was pretty disappointing (especially in August), though there were some standouts like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Wonder Woman.”

Now it's riding another high with the surprise September success of “It.”

It’s looking more and more like when 2017 comes to a close, the box office will match up to last year’s total gross and tickets sold (maybe even surpass it if “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” does beyond the monster business it's supposed to do).

Here are the 10 best box office earners so far this year.

Note: This selection is limited to only those titles released by the six major studios that have played in more than 2,000 screens for at least two weekends. Grosses below are all US earnings from Box Office Mojo.

SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2017 so far, after the dismal summer

10. “The Lego Batman Movie” — $175.7 million

Reported budget: $80 million

(Note: Production budgets are estimates and do not include expenses for marketing and release.)

9. “Dunkirk” — $186.3 million*

Reported budget: $100 million

*Movie is still playing in theaters.

8. “The Fate of the Furious” — $225.7 million

Reported budget: $250 million

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The first reviews of 'Blade Runner 2049' are calling it a 'sci-fi masterpiece'


blade runner 2049

With just over a week until the release of "Blade Runner 2049," many of the first critical reactions for the "Blade Runner" sequel are calling the film a "masterpiece." 

The critics who screened the film this week were allowed to tweet their reactions to "2049" before the embargo for full-length reviews is lifted next week. 

The film's director Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival") and cinematographer Roger Deakins ("Skyfall") both received heaps of praise for its stunning visuals, and critics are throwing the phrase "mind-blowing" around a lot. 

"Blade Runner 2049" stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto, and it hits theaters on October 6.

Here's the official synopsis of the film: 

"Three decades after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."

And here's a round-up of critics' first reactions to it:

Watch the trailer below:

SEE ALSO: This 6-minute short film starring Jared Leto shows what happened between the original 'Blade Runner' and its upcoming sequel

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5 small changes that would make Netflix so much better to use (NFLX)


house of cards

Netflix introduced a new ratings system in April: Instead of letting you rate movies and shows from one to five stars, Netflix now just wants to know "thumbs up, or thumbs down?"

As we've written about, Netflix's new ratings system is not only confusing, it's fundamentally flawed.

That said, the likelihood Netflix starts from scratch here is slim to none. The company has invested significant resources into this new system, and Netflix likely has some statistics that support how well the new system works. Still, there are several small ways Netflix could supplement the current setup to make the experience so much better:

SEE ALSO: Why Netflix's 'thumbs up, thumbs down' ratings system is fundamentally flawed

1. Connect with other internet services like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB for more ratings/information.

I understand Netflix is invested in its own algorithm, but having “a second opinion,” so to speak, would go a long way in tailoring the user experience — and even improving Netflix’s own data. I would love to be able to quickly consult Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, for instance, since they’re widely-used and generally reliable in terms of recommendations. Netflix would get brownie points if it could let other ratings services connect as well. (I personally still read Roger Ebert’s reviews site, for instance, and would love to see how they reviewed any titles available on Netflix.)

2. Let me choose to watch a trailer.

Netflix recently added an auto-play feature where, if you’re hovering over a title, it will automatically play a trailer or teaser for that movie or show. Trailers can be really helpful in deciding what to watch, but I don't always want to watch a trailer. And Netflix's implementation can really get annoying, since there’s no option to turn off the sound as it auto-plays and trying to read the description before the trailer starts is an anxiety-inducing experience that’s unnecessary.

3. Let me choose to see a summary or not.

Sometimes Netflix descriptions aren’t always subtle about the plot. Sometimes, I’d rather be surprised, or choose to read about it if I choose.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

James Cameron doubles-down on calling the success of 'Wonder Woman' a 'step backwards'


James Cameron Getty final

James Cameron has finally officially begun the process of making four “Avatar” sequels, as news broke on Monday that he’s begun principal photography and will shoot them in succession.

But before that he did a little bit of press, and once again addressed his headline-grabbing thoughts on “Wonder Woman.”

In late August, the director behind the last two highest-grossing movies of all time, “Titanic” and “Avatar,” opened up to The Guardian about the excitement around the success of “Wonder Woman,” as he basically threw cold water on the whole thing.

“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over 'Wonder Woman' has been so misguided," Cameron said. "She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.”

Cameron then used the character from his “Terminator” franchise, Sarah Connor, as an example of a strong female character.

“Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit,” he said.

“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins quickly took to Twitter to respond to Cameron’s take, in part stating: “If women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we.”

Here is her complete statement:

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter before shooting on the “Avatar” sequels began, Cameron doubled-down on his earlier comments: 

“As much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn't think there was anything groundbreaking in ‘Wonder Woman,’ Cameron told the trade. “I thought it was a good film. Period. I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn't get it about women in commercial franchises.”

Wonder WomanCameron also continued his comparison of “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot to his Sarah Connor character from “Terminator,” played by Linda Hamilton.

“I mean, she was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She's absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that's not breaking ground,” Cameron said of Gadot. “Linda looked great. She just wasn't treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. … She wasn't there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film.”

Before closing his thoughts on “Wonder Woman,” Cameron added a little detail on what he liked about Diana Prince.

“I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”

“Wonder Woman” is currently the second-highest grossing movie of the year domestically with over $412 million.

SEE ALSO: Tom Cruise's new movie is a bland look at one of the 1980s most infamous drug runners

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As Tom Cruise gets older, his on-screen love interests stay the same age


tom cruise american madeAmerican Made premieres this week, bringing two reunions with it: Tom Cruise and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, and Tom Cruise and his ever-growing age gap with his female co-starsSarah Wright (who plays Cruise’s wife in the film) was born in 1983 just a couple months after the premiere of Risky Business, making her 22 years Cruise’s junior. Which is somewhat uncomfortable.

It’s a well-known fact that Hollywood likes to pair older men with younger women. And to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with an age gap between two consenting adults. According to the 2013 US Census, 4.8 percent of heterosexual married couples included a husband 10-15 years his wife’s senior.

The problem, rather, is that Hollywood doesn’t really care about showcasing the stories of that 4.8 percent so much as normalizing the expectation that women are only romance material when they’re in their mid-20s/early-30s, whereas men are free to age and remain conceivably f---able.

Of the leading men frequently cited in critiques of the age gap, Tom Cruise is the highest-paid. Consequently, the way he’s represented on screen matters. He is worth the deep dive. And deep dive I did. I crunched the numbers for every single Tom Cruise movie, comparing his age relative to that of the actresses playing his love interests over time.

All told, Cruise’s age gap mirrors, and indeed confirms, the larger critique of Hollywood’s bias against older actresses. This isn’t just anecdotally-sourced rhetoric, by the way. There’s more and more statistical evidence showing how women age out of Hollywood. Time and The Pudding, for instance, do a great job at visualizing how more roles and dialogue are available to men as they age, where the opposite is true for women.

To beleaguer the point, this inverted trajectory is super apparent when it comes to love interests. While dudes get to be romantically viable well into their Entrapment years, Hollywood treats an actress hitting her mid-30’s as the equivalent of Melisandre taking off her necklace in Game of Thrones.

valkyrieA couple quick observations and methodological notes:

When collecting data, I took a page from Vulture’s stats work on the age gap and measured age relative to the day the film in question was released in the US.

Broadly, I took “love interest” to mean any character the movie explicitly endorsed as a romantic partner for Cruise. This means, for example, that while I did include Cruise’s wife from The Firm, I did not include the woman he’s tricked into sleeping with. Likewise, I discounted exes and old flames like Vanilla Sky’s Julie and War of the Worlds’ Mary Ann. Also, despite being a film that ends with a triumphant joyride into San Francisco, whatever was going on with Interview with a Vampire’s Louis was just too subtextual to include. Cruise’s not-so interpretive co-op pole dance with Julianne Hough, 26 years Cruise’s junior, was excluded because it only exists in Rock of Ages' extended cut. Hopefully that all makes sense.

Of his filmography, Cruise is definitively without-love interest in 9 of his 42 IMDB-listed movies: Endless Love (1981), Taps (1981), The Outsiders (1981), Interview with a Vampire (1994), Magnolia (1999), Collateral (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Lions for Lambs (2007)and Tropic Thunder (2008).

There are three instances in Cruise’s career where he catches feelings for a woman older than him by five years or more. All three take place within the first decade of his career. Whereas Cruise’s seniority in later films goes unmentioned, these movies go out of their way to call attention to their age gap by playing up the “illicitness” of the relationship. In Losin’ It, the very divorced, adult, not sober Kathy helps the teenage Woody loose his virginity. In Top Gun, Charlie sets multiple professional “I don’t date students” boundaries only to break the f--- out of them for Maverick. And María Elena, the sex worker from Born on the Fourth of July, betrays Ron’s newfound feelings by having other clients in the brothel. All to say, in the rare instances where Cruise falls for older women it’s borderline illegal.

There’s one final wrinkle I need to mention. At a Hollywood Reporter roundtable, Aaron Sorkin was asked to talk about his worst experience as a screenwriter. Sorkin replied:

"There was an executive on [A Few Good Men] who gave me a note: 'If Tom Cruise and Demi Moore aren’t going to sleep with each other, why is Demi Moore a woman?' I said the obvious answer: 'Women have purposes other than to sleep with Tom Cruise.'"

Ignoring that the third draft of Sorkin’s screenplay ends with Kaffee successfully asking Galloway on a date, Sorkin rightfully notes an obvious fact that has since become a sort of recurring trope: female characters presented as “Tom Cruise’s equal” are often interpreted as “competent, sexy young woman I’m surprised Tom Cruise never made out with.” The roll call so far consists of the aforementioned Galloway, Helen Rodin from Jack Reacher, Ilsa Faust from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Turner from Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Because they fail to qualify as love interests, these women don’t appear in the dataset. But before we crack out the “Tom Cruise is empowering” champagne I would like to begrudgingly point out that 3 out of these 4 women are 18 to 22 years younger than Cruise. I too want Rebecca Ferguson to thrive as an action star—just, preferably not in a way that plays into Hollywood’s age/gender bias. 

With that out of the way—let’s look at some stats! If you’re interested, all my hard data is available in this Google doc.


Tom Cruise Age Gap

p.s. I’d be remiss not to mention that Cruise’s film debut, Endless Love, features the tagline “She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears.” Cruise only has a teeny-tiny part (and teeny-tiny cut-off jeans), but this is some prophetic nonsense nonetheless. Anyway here’s a clip of pre-fame Tom Cruise explaining how to fake-burn a woman’s house down to get her to love you.

SEE ALSO: Tom Cruise's new movie is a bland look at one of the 1980s most infamous drug runners

Join the conversation about this story »

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The best movies and TV shows coming to iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, and more in October


war for the planet of the apes 20th Century Fox

The streaming giants have released the new titles that will be coming to their services in October, and there will be a lot of movies and TV to choose from. 

From the comfort of your home, titles like "War for the Planet of the Apes" and the documentary "Spielberg"— on the legendary director — will be available, as well as a new season of the Amazon original "Red Oaks" and the long-awaited return of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." 

Here's everything coming to your favorite streaming platforms in October. We've highlighted some standouts in bold:

SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest US box-office winners of 2017, so far


Available October 3

“13 Minutes”
“Girl’s Trip”
“Land Line”
“Under an Arctic Sky”

Available October 10

“War for the Planet of the Apes”
“The Emoji Movie”

Available October 17

“Girl’s Trip”
“The Dark Tower”

Available October 24

“Atomic Blonde”
“Cars 3”
“Annabelle: Creation”
“Ingrid Goes West”
“The Glass Castle”

Amazon Prime

Available October 1

“Abandoned Mine”
“Apartment 1303”
“Bunker of the Dead”
“Escape from L.A.”
“Ghost World”
“Ghoulies II”
“I Believe in Unicorns”
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”
“Jug Face”
“Margot at the Wedding”
“Pet Sematary”
“Pet Sematary Two”
“Queens and Cowboys”
“Snake Eyes”
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre II”
“The Machinist”
“The Whistleblower”

Available October 2

“Beauty and the Baker” (Season 1)
“Family Guy” (Season 16)
“The Last Man on Earth” (Season 4)
“Song to Song”

Available October 3

“American Horror Story (Season 6)

Available October 4

“Blood Hunters”
“Save My Seoul”

Available October 5

“The Americans” (Season 5)

Available October 6

“The Fashion Edge” ( Season 1, Amazon Original)

Available October 7

“Blair Witch”
“Megan Leavey”

Available October 9

“Inside Edge” (Season 1, Amazon Original)

Available October 11


Available October 12

“Mr. Robot” (Season 3)

Available October 13

“City of Ghosts” (Amazon Original)
“Lore” (Season 1, Amazon Original)
“Sigmund and the Sea Monster” (Season 1, Amazon Original)

Available October 14

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

Available October 15

“The Other Dream Team”
“The Whole Truth”

Available October 17


Available October 18

“Fight for Space”

Available October 20

“The Wall” (Amazon Original)
“Red Oaks” (Season 3, Amazon Original)

Available October 24

“Cars 3”
“The Emoji Movie”

Available October 25

“Awaken the Shadowman”
“The Liberators”

Available October 28


Available October 29


Available October 31

“The Dark Tower”


Available October 1
“60 Days In” (Complete Seasons 1-2)
“1492: Conquest of Paradise”
“50 First Dates”
“6 Dead Souls”
“A Fistful of Dollars”
“A Long Walk Home”
“Abduction of Jennifer Grayson”
“Across the Great Divide”
“Across the Universe”
“The Adventures of Panda Warrior”
“Alone” (Complete Seasons 1-2 )
“American Pickers” (Complete Seasons 1 & 11)
“The Amityville Horror” (1979)
“Ancient Aliens” (Complete Season 11)
“Another 9 ½ Weeks”
“Arlo: The Burping Pig”
“Arthur’s Missing Pal”
“Asylum of Darkness”
“Blood Ransom”
“Blue Chips”
“Born this Way” (Complete Seasons 1-2)
“The Bounty”
“Bring It!” (Complete Seasons 1-3)
“Broadway Danny Rose”
“Broken Mile”
“Brotherhood of Justice”
“Bubba the Redneck Werewolf”
“Butterfly Girl”
“Cabin Fear”
“Cabin Fever” (2002)
“Care Bears: Friends Forever”
“Care Bears: Magical Adventures”
“Carrie” (2002)
“Carrie 2: The Rage”
“Chopped” (Complete Seasons 14-16)
“The Confession”
“The Creature Below”
“The Crying Game”
“Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest”
“The Curse of Oak Island” (Complete Season 1)
“The Cutting Edge”
“Dance Moms” (Complete Seasons 1 & 6)
“Deliver Us from Evil”
“Deuces Wild”
“The Devil’s Advocate”
“The Devil’s Double”
“The Disappearance of Alice Creed”
“The Disembodied”
“Elephant Kingdom”
“End of a Gun “
“Enemy at the Gate”
“Escape From Alcatraz”
“Escape From L.A.”
“Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007”
“The Faculty”
“Fall Time”
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
“Fierce People”
“The Final Cut”
“Fire in the Sky”
“A Fistful of Dollars”
“Fly Me to the Moon”
“Frog Kingdom”
“From Dusk till Dawn”
“The Ghost and the Darkness”
“Ghost World”
“Ghosts of Darkness”
“Ghoulies” (1984)
“Ghoulies II”
“The Glass Coffin”
“Godzilla” (1998)
“Godzilla 2000’
“Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”
“Godzilla Vs. Destroyah”
“Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah”
“Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II”
“Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus: The G Annihilation Strategy”
“Godzilla Vs. Mothra”
“Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla”
“Godzilla, Mothra, And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”
“Godzilla: Final Wars”
“Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.”
“Grease 2”
“Guess Who”
“Halloween H20: 20 Years Later”
“Heaven Can Wait”
“Hemingway’s Garden of Eden”
“High Tension”
“The Holiday”
“Hostel 2”
“Hot Pursuit”
“Hoarders” (Complete Season 4)
“House Hunters” (Complete Season 7)
“The Human Stain”
“The Hunted”
“Hunting Grounds”
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)
“Jesus’s Son”
“Kill Bill: Volume 1”
“Kill Bill: Volume 2”
“Little Shop of Horrors”
“A Long Walk Home”
“Love Finds You in Valentine”
“Love Hurts”
“The Maddening”
“The Madness of King George”
“March of the Penguins”
“New Year’s Evil”
“Ninja III: The Domination”
“The One”
“Oogieloves: The Big Balloon Adventure”
“Out of Time”
“Pet Sematary”
“Pieces of April”
“Postcards from the Edge”
“Prison Break” (Complete Seasons 1-5)
“Property Brothers” (Complete Season 5)
“The Punisher”
“Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman”
“Road House”
“Saving Hope” (Complete Season 5)
“Scream at the Devil”
“Snake Eyes”
“Southwest of Salem”
“Space Guardians”
“Species III”
“Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams”
“Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over”
“The Station Agent”
“Teenage Ghost Punk”
“This Binary Universe”
“The Uninvited”
“Tiny House Hunters” (Complete Seasons 1-2)
“Under Siege”
“U.S vs. John Lennon”
“The Velveteen Rabbit”
“Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000”
“What Lies Beneath”
“The Whistleblower “

Available October 2
“Bob’s Burgers” (Season 8 Premiere)
“Family Guy” (Season 16 Premiere)
“Ghosted” (Series Premiere)
“The Last Man on Earth” (Season 4 Premiere)
“Shark Tank” (Season 9 Premiere)
“The Simpsons” (Season 29 Premiere)
“Ten Days in the Valley” (Series Premiere)
“The Toy Box” (Season 2 Premiere)

Available October 3
“American Horror Story” (Complete Season 6)
“The Gifted” (Series Premiere)
“Lucifer” (Season 3 Premiere)
Available October 4
“Black-ish” (Season 4 Premiere)
“Fresh off the Boat” (Season 4 Premiere)
“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” (Series Premiere)
“The Mayor” (Series Premiere)
“The Middle” (Season 9 Premiere)
“Bad Frank”
“The Reagan Show”
Available October 5
“The Fog”
Available October 6
“Scandal” (Season 7 Premiere)
Available October 7
“Once Upon a Time” (Season 7 Premiere)
“Blair Witch”
Available October 9
“America’s Funniest Home Videos” (Season 28 Premiere)
“A Long Way Down”
Available October 10
“Brotherhood of Blades”
Available October 11
“Chance” (Season 2 Premiere, Hulu Original)
“Folk Hero & Funny Guy”
“The Lookalike”
Available October 12
“I Love You, America” (Series Premiere, Hulu Original)
“I Love You Both”
Available October 14
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”
Available October 15
“Cruel and Unusual”
“The Crying Game”
“The Fly Room”
“Get Rich or Die Tryin’”
“Jersey Girl”
“Like Water for Chocolate”
“The Other Dream Team”
“This is Meg”
“The Whole Truth”
Available October 18
“Freakish” (Complete Season 2)
“Arctic Adventure: On Frozen Pond”
“In the Radiant City”
“No Way to Live”
“Phoenix Forgotten”
“Skating to New York”
Available October 21
“Adventure Time” (Complete Season 9)
“Too Funny To Fail” (Hulu Original Documentary)
Available October 26
“Neon Joe” (Complete Season 2)
Available October 28
“Blindspot” (Season 3 Premiere)
Available October 29 
“Catfish” (Complete Season 6)
“That Sugar Film”
Available October 31
“Midnight Express”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon is one step closer to competing head-to-head with Hollywood studios


wonder wheel amazon studios

On the heels of winning three Academy Awards earlier this year, Amazon Studios has revealed a new component to its business model that moves it one step further from its main competition, Netflix.

In a story on the company in Variety on Thursday, the streaming giant revealed that beginning with the December release of its latest Woody Allen movie, "Wonder Wheel," it will theatrically self-distribute its titles for now on.

In the past, Amazon has hired out independent distributors like Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions, and Bleecker Street to handle the complex theatrical release and marketing of its titles. Then Amazon would take over when it came to streaming. But now it will all be done in house. 

This move shows Hollywood — and particularly the directors and stars Amazon wants to attract to production deals — that it doesn't need any hand-holding during any facet of the moviemaking or release process.

“It represents the final stages of the evolution of our strategy,” Jason Ropell, worldwide head of Amazon’s motion picture group, said. “It completes the picture in terms of our ability to control a film from its inception to how it comes to customers.” 

Amazon Studios' marketing and distribution is run by industry veteran Bob Berney, whose career highlights include overseeing the releases of indie classics like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and "The Passion of the Christ," to recent hits like "Insidious" and "Drive." Recently Berney has beefed up his team to 40 people, quadruple what it was a year ago, according to the trade.

Along with Ropell, Berney, and head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, the company also has veteran producer Ted Hope as its production chief. Like Berney, Hope is another pillar of the 1990s/early 2000s indie film world, with a filmography that includes landmark titles "The Ice Storm,""Happiness," and "21 Grams."

With these minds at the helm, Amazon Studios has gone the more traditional theatrical route with its titles compared to Netflix's rogue simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases. While Netflix has become Enemy No. 1 with theater chains because of its model, Amazon has been accepted.

manchester by the sea amazon studiosThat has led to major names wanting to work with Amazon — from Woody Allen to Spike Lee — and the company getting Oscar wins for "Manchester By the Sea" (best lead actor, screenplay) and "The Salesman" (best foreign language film).  

"I think that our approach is working," Berney told Variety. "It enhances and incentivizes artists globally, and that encourages filmmakers to come work with us."

Berney also brushed off previous comments by Netflix brass about Amazon, like Ted Sarandos' comments last month when he said about Amazon's theatrical model: “I don’t understand why perpetuating a model that feels more and more disconnected with the population is good."

“They can take their swipes, but it’s more about showing that our model is actually working,” Berney said. “We’ve done that.”   

Along with "Wonder Wheel," Amazon also has coming out later this year the Ben Stiller dramedy "Brad's Status," and Richard Linklater's "Last Flag Flying," starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne.

SEE ALSO: Hulu continues its battle with Netflix — getting "30 Rock" and "Will and Grace" after sweeping the Emmys

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Stephen Colbert hilariously spoofs the viral Steven Seagal interview about the NFL protests


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Steven Seagal CBS final

On Thursday night's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the late-night host finished up his opening monologue by having a little fun with an interview that's been making the rounds on the internet. 

1990s action star Steven Seagal did an interview on "Good Morning Britain" Wednesday, from Moscow, to comment on the recent protests by NFL players during the national anthem

Seagal called the protests "outrageous" and "disgusting," and said that he respects the American flag, despite voicing these pro-American views while the Kremlin is visible in the background. 

The interview instantly spread across the globe, with many not just commenting on how unusual the interview was, but Seagal's unique look: a black kimono and jet black goatee, which had many commenting on social media that he looked like a Bond villain ... or how he was once portrayed on "South Park."

Decide for yourself. Here's the interview:

But there was one thing Seagal said that really jumped out for Colbert.

"I myself have risked my life countless times for the American flag," Seagal said.

"And sure, none of that was real," said Colbert. "But then again, neither is his hair."

Colbert felt there was more Seagal could have said on the NFL protest issue, so he took it upon himself to channel the action hero and expand on his thoughts.

Colbert went off-camera for a second, and returned sporting a hastily made black goatee, and small glasses over the glasses he was already wearing. The host then got tossed classic Seagal titles and incorporated them in his "Seagal" disapproval of what the NFL players are doing.

Watch the hilarious bit below (starts at the 3:20 mark). NOTE: Seagal did not star in "Mortal Kombat" (you'll get it after you see the clip):

SEE ALSO: The best movies and TV shows coming to iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, and more in October

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A racy scene involving Bill Clinton was cut from the new Tom Cruise movie


american made Universal final

There was a time when Tom Cruise's new movie, "American Made," was a lot more controversial. 

The satirical look at the life of Barry Seal, who made a lucrative career being a cocaine and gun runner in the 1980s, once featured a scene where Bill Clinton is found in a Arkansas strip club getting a lap dance.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a scene cut before shooting had Seal, played by Cruise, coming up with an idea to enlist Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, in a CIA-backed scheme. The scene would have been set in a strip club and featured an actor playing young Clinton getting a lap dance.

Seal's operation of drug running for the Medellín cartel and moving guns and money for the CIA was based in Mena, Arkansas, where he had a large private airfield. During this time, Clinton was governor of the state.

Bill Clinton Arkansas Governor APClinton does not get off scot-free in the movie. There is a scene in which Seal is arrested by numerous law enforcement branches but suddenly is let off the hook when Clinton calls the district attorney's office. But Clinton is not portrayed by an actor, and we never hear the Clinton character on the phone.

A source told THR the Clinton strip club scene was taken out to keep the movie from being political.

Business Insider contacted the production company behind the movie, Cross Creek Pictures, for comment but did not get an immediate response.

Universal opens "American Made" in theaters on Friday. 

SEE ALSO: Darrell Hammond breaks his silence about losing his "SNL" Trump to Alec Baldwin

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Before Dr. Seuss was famous he drew these sad, racist ads ... and then totally changed his mind


Dr. Seuss

A school librarian in Boston rejected a gift of Dr. Seuss books from First Lady Melania Trump in part because the late author's illustrations are "steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes." 

Most people know Seuss books as harmless, imaginative fun for kids. But Seuss's early work did have a darker, racist side — before he eventually changed his views and abandoned his prejudices.

Dr. Seuss' political leanings are well known — the writer was a liberal Democrat who opposed fascism in the 1940s and President Nixon in the 1970s. The movie of his book "The Lorax" is a fairly unsubtle pro-environment allegory.

Less well celebrated are Theodor Seuss Geisel's early advertising and political cartoons from the 1920s through the 1940s, which had a racist streak.

In the ads (from the collection of the library of the University of California at San Diego), black people are presented as savages, living in the tropics, dressed in grass skirts. Arabs are portrayed as camel-riding nomads or sultans.

The images reveal that one of America's most original artist-authors had the same views of nonwhites as many of his contemporaries.

More optimistically, Seuss later changed his mind and began drawing cartoons that criticised people with prejudiced ideas. Here's a look at that journey, as seen in images that never featured in his children's books.

Warning: Readers may find the following images offensive or upsetting.

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Seuss inveighed against the Japanese in his political cartoons during World War II; he drew them bucktoothed with squinty eyes.

This was an ad for Flit, a brand of insect repellent.

Many of these drawings are from the collection of the Springfield Library and Museums Association.

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34 movies you have to see this fall — including 'Justice League,' 'It,' and 'Blade Runner 2049'


Justice League Warner Bros 2 final

October is here and that means it's time to watch some good movies.

The fall season has already started off strong with impressive titles like the blockbuster "It" and the Oscar-buzzy Jake Gyllenhaal drama "Stronger."

And things will only get better with event movies like "Blade Runner 2049" and "Justice League" mixed with dramas like "Call Me By Your Name" and "Mudbound," coming soon. 

Here are 34 movies coming out this fall that you shouldn’t miss:

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The latest adaptation of Stephen King's classic novel looks to be the most chilling yet. In it, a group of bullied kids team up to take on a monster named Pennywise (that looks like a clown) that hunts kids.

"First They Killed My Father" - ON NETFLIX

Netflix's next anticipated movie from a marquee name is Angelina Jolie's latest directing effort that looks back on the horrific upbringing in Cambodia of Loung Ung. Jolie cast hundreds of survivors and their children to recreate their stories. 

"mother!" - IN THEATERS

Darren Aronofsky's latest thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple whose lives are suddenly interrupted when guests arrive at their home. Aronofsky has always had a knack for completely messing with audience's heads, and this one looks to be no different. The movie also stars Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. 

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'It' beat 'American Made' and the 'Kingsman' sequel to win the weekend box office — for now


It Warner Bros

Going into Sunday, the weekend box office was in a three-way dead heat for the No. 1 spot.

The horror "It" was looking to follow-up on its September dominance by stealing a box office win to start October, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" was looking for a second-straight weekend win, while Tom Cruise's new movie, "American Made," was coming in as the big new weekend release that would overperform to get the win.

With all three hovering around a $16.5 million weekend take, estimates show that 'It' has won with $17.5 million while "American Made" and "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" have tied with $17 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The clear winner will be determined when official numbers come in on Monday.

American Made Universal final"American Made" went into the weekend with a very strong Rotten Tomatoes score for a Cruise movie (87%), but with industry projections having it earning only $13 million to $15 million on over 3,000 screens, many thought it didn't have a chance to compete for the weekend box office win.

But never count Cruise out. The movie overperformed on Saturday to get into the running.

After winning last weekend, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" was looking for an easy repeat win with "American Made" and the other weekend big new release "Flatliners" looking to fizzle away.

That definitely happened with "Flatliners," a reboot on the 1990 original that starred Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts. The film had a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score and only took in $6.7 million on just over 2,500 screens (it had a $19 million budget).

But "American Made" beat "The Golden Circle" on Friday taking in $6.1 million over the $4.87 million "The Golden Circle" took in, proving it would be a photo finish.

"The Golden Circle" and "American Made" stalemate at $17 million will also be decided when official weekend numbers come in on Monday.

"It" was in the hunt this whole time because neither "American Made" nor "The Golden Circle" are making huge coin. The Stephen King adaptation only dropped a remarkable 41% in ticket sales from last weekend. In its fourth weekend in theaters, that's an amazing feat. The movie has now made $291 million domestically.

The close race for the top was all due to the dull choices in theaters at the moment. But that will all change next Friday when "Blade Runner 2049" hits screens.

SEE ALSO: The 29 best "Saturday Night Live" skitches of all time

DON'T MISS: 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is a silly sequel that pales in comparison to the original

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