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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Relativity Raises Chinese Backing for Global Studio to Produce and Release Films in and Out of China

    Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh doesn't sit around. The guy has pacted with a Chinese equity firm and a China-focused investment entity to back a production/acquisition/distribution company geared toward Chinese language films with global appeal.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Forest Whitaker Will Star As Muslim Ex-Con In 3rd Film In Rachid Bouchareb Trilogy

    Forest Whitaker will star in the 3rd film in Oscar-nominated Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb's trilogy of English-language films that will explore the complex relationship between the west and the Arab world.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Watch: We Need to Talk About Kevin Boasts New Trailer, Poster, Swinton and Oscar Indie Swartz

    Oscar Watch: We Need to Talk About Kevin Boasts New Trailer, Poster, Swinton and Oscar Indie Swartz

    Lynne Ramsay's tough adaptation of Brit bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin (December 2), one of my favorite Cannes competition films, has a new poster and two new trailers, one domestic, one foreign (below). Oscilloscope is releasing, and PR ace Cynthia Swartz, who is currently negotiating her split from PR firm 42West--she was a founding partner--will be handling PR chores at the Venice and Toronto festivals en route to an Oscar shot.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Debra Lee Promises New Look BET; Wants To Attract Larger Black Audience w/o Offending

    When I became CEO I had to define my vision for the company. How do we make our brand distinct and compete with other networks? I realized it was time to focus on original programming... Our new brand strategy: We respect, reflect and elevate our audience. They want to be entertained, but they also want to be inspired. For awhile we went too hard-edge. We had a lot of criticism when we were primarily airing music videos, which a lot of people felt were derogatory towards women. We heard that loud and clear... Our programming filter now is: It has to have a message, can’t be derogatory and has to show positive images. That doesn’t mean that it’s unreal or fake. We’re not going to be the PBS of black television. We still have to get ratings.

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  • Week of Wonders
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  • Shadow and Act
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    Trailer For Kenyan *Superhero* Feature Narrative "Leo"

    This reminds me of 2 Focus Features' Africa First Shorts film I saw at the New York African Film Festival earlier this year. The first, Umkhungo, a South African film, which I described as close to a superhero origin story, set in an African country, as I've seen, which centers on an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers, and those who'd rather see him expelled; the second, Mwansa The Great, made by Zambian Rungano Nyoni, that centers on an 8-year old, who, in an attempt to prove he is a hero just like his father who passed away, goes on a quest to find the "magical" substance necessary to fix his sister's broken doll, and finally prove that he is in fact destined for greatness.

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  • The Playlist
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    Empire Big Screen '11: Drew Pearce Says 'The Avengers' Put 'Runaways' On Hold, Hopes For 2012 Start

    Writer Drew Pearce has quickly moved up the ladder to become of the most sought after scribes for comic fare. Pearce broke out as the producer/writer of the British superhero comedy "No Heroics" and has since landed a couple of high profile gigs, co-writing "Iron Man 3" with director Shane Black and penning the DC Comic "The Mighty" for Paramount. But before both of these, Pearce had readied a script for "The Runaways," a Marvel movie that was gearing up to shoot last year with Peter Sollet ("Raising Victor Vargas,” “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist”) directing before being taken off the slate in the fall. It seems two superhero team-up movies were a bit much for Marvel to take on all at once.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Box Office: Apes Dominate For Second Week as The Help Rises

    Weekend Box Office: Apes Dominate For Second Week as The Help Rises

    August summer box office showed some breadth, as studios battled for weekend dominance with pictures appealing to a range of audience segments, from women (The Help) to tweens (Glee) and holdover prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, reports Anthony D'Alessandro.Neither a 3-D bridge disaster, Gleek, nor bomb-strapped buffoon could topple Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes in its second session as it grossed $27.5 million. Meanwhile, Disney/DreamWorks' critically acclaimed chick-lit feature The Help posed a formidable foe, taking second place with $25.5 million from Friday to Sunday.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: New Clips & Pics From 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' With Jason Sudeikis

    Considering "Horrible Bosses" has turned into a respectable late summer hit for SNL star Jason Sudeikis, it's a little surprising to see his next film "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" (due out September 2nd) still flying under the radar. The film made its debut back in April at the Tribeca Film Festival where our reviewer called it a good update of the classic slob comedies of the 70s and 80s like "Stripes" and "Animal House." This writer also got a chance to check the film out at the fest and while it's not in the league with those films, it had a nice rough-around-the-edges charm that recalls the general looseness of that era. It's pretty much the antidote to slick big budget comedies like "The Hangover" and more in line with the low key ensembles in David Wain's work ("Wet Hot American Summer," "Children's Hospital").

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  • The Playlist
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    Weekend Box Office: 'Apes' Dominates 'The Help'; One Franchise Reaches Its 'Final Destination'

    All is forgiven between the public and the “Planet Of The Apes” franchise. This relationship seemed on the outs as soon as Tim Burton gave us Apebraham Lincoln a decade ago, but “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” has healed all wounds. While not keeping pace with that last Apeventure, 'Rise' has still taken only two weekends to cross $100 million at a much lower cost, a total no one at Fox was expecting. When the dust settles, this offering, which held well-enough to suggest strong word-of-mouth, will have outdistanced many of its genre companions from this summer, particularly those benefiting from the 3D price bump.

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