Movie News

Box Office: 'Birds of Prey' Eyes $50M-Plus U.S. Launch. DC's female-led, R-rated pic is the first studio superhero offering of 2020. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn will easily fly to No. 1 in the U.S. this weekend with a domestic box office of $50 million or more. Warner Bros. and DC's female-led feature is the year's first studio superhero pic, and sees Margot Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn following Suicide Squad. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star as her superhero pals. Directed by Cathy Yan, the R-rated offering is the weekend's only new wide release and will have to compete with Sunday's Academy Awards telecast, where Robbie herself is up for best supporting actress for her performance in Bombshell (Robbie also starred in Quentin Tarantino's award contender Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Birds of Prey follows hot on the heels of DC's global blockbuster Joker, which is up for numerous Oscars (star Joaquin Phoenix is a frontrunner for best actor). Joker is not part of the DC Extended Universe, where Birds of Prey will be the eighth such film in the DCEU. The film, which cost cost $80 million to $90 million to produce after tax incentives and rebates, also flies into numerous markets overseas, where it is hoping to take off with $60 million-plus. The rest of the cast is led by Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong and Ewan McGregor. Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie and Bryan Unkeless also star. February has transformed into a launching pad for superhero movies following the success of 20th Century Fox's R-rated Deadpool and Black Panther. Both of those titles opened over Presidents Day weekend; Birds of Prey is leaving the nest a week earlier. Deadpool shattered records when posting a three-day debut of $132.4 million over the mid-February holiday frame in 2016 and $152.2 million for the four-day holiday. Two years later, Marvel and Disney's Black Panther blew past that with $202 million for the three days and $242.2 million for the four. Suicide Squad opened in summer 2016 to $133.2 million, but comparisons to Birds of Prey are tough, since the former went out in August. Birds of Prey should benefit from strong reviews (presently, its Rotten Tomatoes score rests at 90 percent), and hopes to maintain momentum over Presidents Day weekend. (Hollywood Reporter)

Meryl Streep Backing Rachel Feldman's Fair Pay Drama 'Lilly'. Streep has lent her support to Feldman's film about Lilly Ledbetter and her fight for legislative change to the big screen. Meryl Streep has jumped aboard Rachel Feldman's Lilly Ledbetter fair pay movie, Lilly. Streep has brought her backing to Feldman and fellow producers to bring the long-gestating feature based on the life of the equal pay icon to production. The Hollywood actress earlier lent her support to calls for equal pay for women in the U.S., including raising the issue while promoting her star-turn in Suffragette, where she played the iconic political activist Emmeline Pankhurst. Feldman will direct Lilly, which earlier had a working title Ledbetter, as it portrays Ledbetter inspiring the Fair Pay Restoration Act, the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed after his inauguration. J. Todd Harris (The Kids Are All Right) has also joined Feldman as a producing partner on the project. Ledbetter gained attention by fighting The Goodyear Tire Company for her right to be paid equally to her male counterparts. She was a pioneer in putting a name to the issue, before Megan Rapinoe energized the fight for equal pay in sports and Michelle Williams spotlighted the pay gap for female actors in Hollywood. "Historic dramas often chronicle the external forces of politics, but Lilly tells the story of what happens to a woman's inner life when patriarchal injustice overwhelms every aspect of her existence. Lilly is the perfect film for this moment in time," Feldman, a director, screenwriter and activist and the former chair of the DGA Women's Steering Committee, said in a statement. Feldman is repped by Amy Retzinger/Evan Pioche at Verve, and Gregg Ramer at Paul Hastings. (Hollywood Reporter)

Box Office: 'Birds of Prey' Eyes $50M-Plus U.S. Launch. DC's female-led, R-rated pic is the first studio superhero offering of 2020. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn will easily fly to No. 1 in the U.S. this weekend with a domestic box office of $50 million or more. Warner Bros. and DC's female-led feature is the year's first studio superhero pic, and sees Margot Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn following Suicide Squad. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star as her superhero pals. Directed by Cathy Yan, the R-rated offering is the weekend's only new wide release and will have to compete with Sunday's Academy Awards telecast, where Robbie herself is up for best supporting actress for her performance in Bombshell (Robbie also starred in Quentin Tarantino's award contender Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Birds of Prey follows hot on the heels of DC's global blockbuster Joker, which is up for numerous Oscars (star Joaquin Phoenix is a frontrunner for best actor). Joker is not part of the DC Extended Universe, where Birds of Prey will be the eighth such film in the DCEU. The film, which cost $80 million to $90 million to produce after tax incentives and rebates, also flies into numerous markets overseas, where it is hoping to take off with $60 million-plus. The rest of the cast is led by Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong and Ewan McGregor. Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie and Bryan Unkeless also star. February has transformed into a launching pad for superhero movies following the success of 20th Century Fox's R-rated Deadpool and Black Panther. Both of those titles opened over Presidents Day weekend; Birds of Prey is leaving the nest a week earlier. Deadpool shattered records when posting a three-day debut of $132.4 million over the mid-February holiday frame in 2016 and $152.2 million for the four-day holiday. Two years later, Marvel and Disney's Black Panther blew past that with $202 million for the three days and $242.2 million for the four. Suicide Squad opened in summer 2016 to $133.2 million, but comparisons to Birds of Prey are tough, since the former went out in August. Birds of Prey should benefit from strong reviews (presently, its Rotten Tomatoes score rests at 90 percent), and hopes to maintain momentum over Presidents Day weekend. (Hollywood Reporter)

Berlin Adds Sundance Doc 'Saudi Runaway' to Panorama Lineup. 'Saudi Runaway' from director Susanne Regina Meures uses covertly filmed smartphone footage to document a woman's life in Saudi Arabia and her attempt to flee the country. The Berlin Film Festival has added the politically charged documentary Saudi Runaway to the official lineup for its Panorama sidebar. The nonfiction feature, from first-time director Susanne Regina Meures, documents a young woman's life under the oppressive Saudi Arabian regime. Using her smartphone, the woman secretly films her everyday struggles, including her daring plan to flee the country. Saudi Runaway was produced by Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei (War Photographer). Saudi Runaway premiered in Sundance, where it received rave reviews. The Hollywood Reporter called "a profile in courage, more suspenseful than many Hollywood thrillers." Berlin on Thursday also unveiled its program for Berlinale Talents, which brings together up-and-coming film professionals from around the world. Among the guests at this year's Talents are Oscar-winning actresses Helen Mirren, in Berlin to receive a lifetime achievement Golden Bear and Cate Blanchett, who will be attending Berlin to promote her new TV series, Stateless; Oscar-nominated composer Hildur Guonadottir (Joker); and Brazilian director and Berlin festival jury member, Kleber Mendonca Filho (Aquarius). The European Film Market, which runs concurrent to the Berlin festival, also unveiled its program, with highlights including an Industry Debate on Saturday, Feb. 22, on "Indie Strategies in the Streaming Age," hosted by The Hollywood Reporter; and a presentation Sunday, Feb. 23, from Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, on how to achieve true gender diversity in the film industry. Six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (The Lion King) will present a keynote Feb. 24 as part of EFM's Virtual Reality summit on how VR is revolutionizing film making. The 2020 Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 20-March 1. (Hollywood Reporter)

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