Posted: 28 Mar 2014 10:55 PM PDT
Sony Pictures is banking on its eclectic mix of films to thrill audiences and dominate at the box office this year.
Sony Pictures presented a varied slate for 2014 of comedy, drama and action at the CinemaCon convention in the United States on Wednesday, relying on only one tentpole picture, the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise Of Electro, to drive big box office.
The studio's offerings reflected the eclectic approach to moviemaking that has become its hallmark, with comedies dominating the summer including a new 22 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, Sex Tape starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple whose homemade porno tape gets uploaded to the cloud and The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as TV journalists invited to interview North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
That last movie may stir up some political discussion, as the plot involves the CIA soliciting the journalists to assassinate the not-fictional Korean leader.
In addition, there was a Screen Gems horror movie in Deliver Us From Evil; an inspirational football tale in When The Game Stands Tall, based on a true story; and an African-American comedy sequel starring Kevin Hart Think Like A Man 2, set in Las Vegas.
But the slate was bare of anything like a tentpole except for the new reboot of Spider-Man which opens in early May.
Still, that franchise and the low cost-high profit comedies could propel the studio to a better summer than its lackluster 2013.
Sony's worldwide distribution president Rory Bruer called the slate one of the strongest in years, saying, "We're as proud of this slate this year as ever." The studio's hope for a holiday hit lies largely in a reboot of the beloved musical Annie, starring Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild) in the title role, with Jamie Foxx as Daddy Warbucks. Diaz, a studio favourite, plays the evil Miss Hannigan.
And the studio may hope for an awards season run with Fury, an intense World War II drama written and directed by David Ayer (End Of Watch). The movie stars Brad Pitt as a tank commander leading a group of soldiers including Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman in the final days of the war.
For adults there is The Equalizer a revenge thriller that finds Denzel Washington doing unspeakable things to Russian mobsters with a corkscrew and shot glass. Neither is for the faint of heart.
The studio has in the past year undergone severe staff reductions and an overhaul of its marketing and communications division, along with hiring a new production co-president in Mike DeLuca. – Reuters
Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:22 PM PDT
Martial arts fantasy The Grandmaster dominated the Asian Film Awards on Thursday March 28 with seven wins including best movie, as its emotional director mourned the film's stuntman who was on lost flight MH370.
The Grandmaster, inspired by the life of Yip Man - the mentor of legendary kung fu star Bruce Lee - scooped awards in most major categories, including best director for Wong Kar-wai and best actress for Zhang Ziyi.
Despite the big wins, a sombre mood hung over the film crew, with Wong using his acceptance speech to ask Malaysia for greater transparency in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
"One of our martial arts directors unfortunately is one of the victims of MH370, so here I hope the Malaysian government can try their best to address this issue by taking a more transparent attitude... and to let us know the truth," Wong said.
Malaysia has come under scathing criticism for its handling of the search, with relatives of the mostly Chinese passengers on board accusing the government and airline of a cover-up and a botched response. Ju Kun, 35, was reportedly on his way to Beijing to visit his family.
"Today I am very emotional about (our) crew member and friend. We'll have to say goodbye to him forever," said Zhang.
The Grandmaster, a stylised martial arts epic which was in production for more than six years, spans several decades of Chinese history and features lengthy battles between rival kung fu masters. Wang said making the film was an "adventure".
"It started as a dream, later it became an obsession and finally reality," he said.
Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who plays the eponymous "Grandmaster" lost the best actor award to India's Irrfan Khan, who played a lead role in The Lunchbox.
"I am grateful for the moment which give inspiration (to) my director and writer to write this script and to write this story," said Khan.
India's The Lunchbox was the only other film to win multiple prizes at the star-studded event at Macau's City of Dreams casino resort, winning awards for best actor and screenwriter. The Lunchbox serves up a bittersweet romance between two strangers in Mumbai brought together by mistaken lunch deliveries.
The Asian Film Awards, organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, have been held annually since 2007, aimed at showcasing the region's movie talent. Twenty-six films from 13 countries and regions vied for 14 prizes this year.
Here's a list of some of the other top winners:
Best Newcomer: Jiang Shuying (So Young - China)
Best Supporting Actor: Huang Bo (No Man's Land - China)
Best Supporting Actress: Yeo Yann Yann (Ilo Ilo - Singapore)
Best Screenwriter: Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox - India)
Best Cinematographer: Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster - Hong Kong)
Best Production Designer: William Chang Suk-ping, Alfred Yau Wai-ming (The Grandmaster)
Best Composer: Umebayashi Shigeru, Nathaniel Mechaly (The Grandmaster)
Best Editor: Shin Min-kyung (Cold Eyes - South Korea)
Best Visual Effects: Jang Sung-Jin (Mr Go - Japan)
Best Costume Designer: William Chang Suk-ping (The Grandmaster)
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