New York, Jul 30 (AP/UNB) — Martin Scorsese's big-budget mafia epic "The Irishman" will premiere as the opening night film at the 57th New York Film Festival, Film at Lincoln Center announced Monday.
The selection, with the premiere set for September 27, gives Scorsese a hometown launch for one of his most anticipated films. "The Irishman" is Scorsese's $125 million Netflix film about the reflections of a former Jimmy Hoffa associate and hit man. Its genre and cast — including Robert De Niro as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino — have long tantalized fans of the 76-year-old filmmaker.
"It's in the milieu of the pictures we've done together and are known for, in a sense, but I hope from a different vantage point," Scorsese said earlier this year at a Tribeca Film Festival event. "Years have gone by and we see things in a special way, I hope."
New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones, a frequent collaborator with Scorsese, said in a statement that "The Irishman" is "the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I've seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me."
Netflix is planning a robust awards season push for "The Irishman," including a not-yet-dated release in select theaters later this year. How widely Netflix will release it remains to be seen; major theater chains have thus far refused to play films that don't adhere to a traditional exclusive theatrical release window of 90 days. Netflix has said holding movies back from its streaming service doesn't serve its subscribers.
In an interview with The Associated Press in June , Scorsese said Netflix was the only one willing to bankroll the ambitious film, based on Charles Brandt's "I Heard You Paint Houses."
"No one else did. No one else did," said Scorsese, who also turned to Netflix for his Bob Dylan documentary "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese." ''We decided to make it with the understanding that it'll maybe never be shown in theaters. They said, 'You would have a time in theaters' — a few weeks or whatever. I said fine. The idea was to make the movie, you see."
Scorsese has also lamented the major studios' reliance on blockbusters. "I don't do those," said Scorsese. "There's only so much time in your life. I need to make these movies. I just need to. So where do I go?"
The filmmaker on Monday said he was grateful for the New York Film Festival selection (his first as the opening night film) and praised the festival as "critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world."
The New York Film Festival runs September 27 through October 13.
Los Angeles, Jul 30 (AP/UNB) — A jury on Monday found that Katy Perry's 2013 hit "Dark Horse" improperly copied a 2009 Christian rap song in a unanimous decision that represented a rare takedown of a pop superstar and her elite producer by a relatively unknown artist.
The verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors, first sued in 2014 alleging "Dark Horse" stole from "Joyful Noise," a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.
The case now goes to a penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe for copyright infringement.
Questions from the jury during their two full days of deliberations had suggested that they might find only some of the defendants liable for copyright infringement. The case focused on the notes and beats of the song, not its lyrics or recording, and the questions suggested that Perry might be off the hook.
But in a decision that left many in the courtroom surprised, jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the songs were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song's words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song. Perry was not present when the verdict was read.
Other defendants found liable were Capitol Records as well as Perry's producers: Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who came up with the song's beat.
Gray's attorneys argued that the beat and instrumental line featured through nearly half of "Dark Horse" are substantially similar to those of "Joyful Noise." Gray wrote the song with his co-plaintiffs Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu.
"Dark Horse," a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single of Perry's 2013 album "Prism," spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014, and earned a Grammy nomination for Perry, who performed the song during her 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.
Her attorneys argued that the song sections in question represent the kind of simple musical elements that if found to be subject to copyright would hurt music and all songwriters.
"They're trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone," Perry's lawyer Christine Lepera said during closing arguments Thursday.
The defendants' musical expert testified that the musical patterns in dispute were as simple as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
But the jury of six women and three men disagreed, finding that the bumping beat and riff at the center of "Joyful Noise" were original enough to be copyrighted.
Perry and the song's co-authors testified during the seven-day trial that none of them had heard the song or heard of Gray before the lawsuit, nor did they listen to Christian music.
Gray's attorneys had only to demonstrate, however, that "Joyful Noise" had wide dissemination and could have been heard by Perry and her co-authors. They provided as evidence that it had millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify, and that the album it's included on was nominated for a Grammy.
"They're trying to shove Mr. Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits," said plaintiffs' attorney Michael A. Kahn during closing arguments, when he also pointed out that Perry had begun her career as a Christian artist.
Jurors agreed, finding that the song was distributed widely enough that the "Dark Horse" writers may well have heard it.
Kahn and Gray declined comment but smiled as they left the courtroom after the verdict.
Lepera and other defense attorneys also declined comment outside court. Perry's publicist did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Monday evening.
Perry, a 34-year-old pop superstar and "American Idol" judge, brought laughs to the proceedings when she testified during its second day when her lawyers were having technical troubles getting "Dark Horse" to play in the courtroom.
"I could perform it live," Perry said.
No performance was necessary after the audio issues were fixed. Jurors heard both songs played back-to-back in their entirety at the end of closing arguments last week.
Beijing, July 29 (Xinhua/UNB) -- "The Bravest," an upcoming Chinese feature film based on a real fire accident, has received a user rating of 9.6 out of 10 on Maoyan, a Chinese film database and ticketing platform, in advance screening.
Starring Huang Xiaoming, the film will be the first time in Chinese movie history that firefighters as a whole group are in the spotlight, according to the film's official Weibo account.
It tells of a fire brigade chief and his team members' dedicated fight for people's safety as fire and an ensuing explosion hit a coastal oil tank area.
The film's general releasing date for China is Aug. 1.
Beijing, July 29 (Xinhua/UNB) -- "Ne Zha," a Chinese animated film, continued to lead the Chinese mainland box office on Sunday, the China Movie Data Information Network said Monday.
The film raked in about 276.3 million yuan (about 40.2 million U.S. dollars) on its third day of screening, accounting for over 70 percent of the daily total.
The fantasy film follows the birth and growing up of Ne Zha, a mythical male figure created in ancient China who is widely known as the incarnation of a lotus. He is often depicted as a young hero standing on two flaming wheels in Chinese legends and literature such as the literary classic "Journey to the West."
It was followed by "Looking Up," a Chinese family drama, which grossed about 45.73 million yuan and had topped the Chinese mainland box office for eight straight days since its release on July 18.
"The Bravest," a China-produced film telling the story of firefighters, took third place with a daily box office revenue of about 31.4 million yuan in presale.
Los Angeles, Jul 29 (AP/UNB) — "The Lion King" rode its circle of life into a second weekend atop the box office and "Once Upon A Time ... In Hollywood," while not quite doing fairytale numbers, gave director Quentin Tarantino his biggest opening ever.
Disney's photorealistic remake of the Hamlet-themed tale of Mufasa, Simba and Nala, featuring the voices of Donald Glover and Beyoncé, brought in $75 million in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its domestic total of $350 million makes it the year's fourth highest-grossing film after just 10 days of release.
"Once Upon A Time ... In Hollywood" finished a distant second with $40 million in its opening weekend for Sony, but it bested the 2009 opening of Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" by $2 some million and made a strong showing for an R-rated, nearly-three-hour film that was not a sequel or remake and was aimed solely at adults.
The film with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie as denizens of a 1969 Los Angeles where old Hollywood was fading and the Manson family was rising was more star-powered than Tarantino's previous eight movies, though the director himself was as big a draw as anyone.
"In our fan survey, over 40% of the audience went to see the movie because of the director," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. "That's incredible. You almost never see that. Sony did a great job of putting that cast and certainly Tarantino at the front of the marketing. That collective star power just paid huge dividends."
It's also the sort of film that's unlikely to experience a major drop-off in the coming weeks, and its long legs could walk it into awards season given Hollywood's persistent love for movies about itself.
But with all of that, the film's opening take was still nearly doubled by "The Lion King" and its broad appeal.
"'Lion King' has appealed to everyone, that's a second-weekend gross that would be the envy of most films on their opening weekend," Dergarabedian said.
The two-week take is also a sign that audiences are not yet feeling fatigue for Disney's live-action remakes in a year that has already seen "Dumbo" and "Aladdin."
"The idea that remake burnout would be in effect for 'The Lion King' has not proven true," Dergarabedian said. "Some brands are inoculated from that kind of negative speculation."
That's even more good news for the ever-dominant Disney, with a live-action "Mulan" slated for early next year and more remakes in the planning stages.
The rest of the box office top 10 remained essentially unchanged from a week earlier. Sony's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" was third with $12.2 million in its fourth weekend and has earned a cumulative $344 million, "Toy Story 4" was fourth with $9.8 million, and "Crawl" fifth with $4 million.
"The Lion King" could reign for a third week. With major summer releases slowing as fall approaches the only real competition it has opening next weekend is "Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Lion King," $75.5 million ($142.8 million international).
2. "Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood," $40.3 million.
3. "Spider-Man: Far From Home," $12.2 million ($21 million international).
4. "Toy Story 4," $9.8 million ($19.4 million international).
5. "Crawl," $4 million ($3.4 million international).
6. "Yesterday," $3 million ($3.6 million international).
7. "Aladdin," $2.8 million ($7.2 million international).
8. "Stuber," $1.7 million ($1.6 million international).
9. "Annabelle Comes Home," $1.56 million ($3.7 million international).
10. "The Farewell," $1.55 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. "The Lion King," $142.8 million.
2. "Ne Zha" $83.1 million.
3. "Spider-Man: Far From Home," $21 million.
4. "Toy Story 4," $19.4 million.
5. "Looking Up," $17.3 million.
6. "Aladdin," $7.2 million.
7. "The Secret Life of Pets 2," $7.2 million.
8. "Dancing Elephant," $5.2 million.
9. "Annabelle Comes Home," $3.7 million.
10. "White Storm 2: The Drug Lords," $3.68 million.