DR. STRANGE REMAINS ON TOP and ARRIVAL breaks opens at #2 for ticket sales

arrival_ver10It was a crazy week for the history books. The nation elected a new president to the joy of some, and to the shock and dismay of others. What better time to go catch a movie and many of you did just that.

It’s no surprise that DR. STRANGE scored another number one spot in its second week in theaters with a healthy $43 million in box office sales. DR. STRANGE has a monstrous total gross of $153 million over two weeks. TROLLS continued to surprise many as it finished second with $36 million weekend tally bringing its two-week total to $94 million. ARRIVAL was one of two top five film that opened this week; finishing at $24 million with a chance to rise to the top next weekend. The hilarious ALMOST CHRISTMAS also opened in theaters this past week hitting solid numbers at $ 15 million. The war hero themed HACKSAW RIDGE (in its second week) rounds out the top five with $10 million weekend tally.

I got a chance to check out ALMOST CHRISTMAS and it was definitely one to see. Below is my quick 1-minute review.

Here are the films that rounded out the top ten box office ticket sales

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#6 THE ACOUNTANT -starring Ben Affleck

At # 6 is THE ACCOUNTANT staring Ben Affleck. followed by #7 SHUT IN, a Horror suspense thriller that opened this past weekend. At #8 is BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN followed by #9 JACK REACHER; NEVER GO BACK, the action thriller starring Tom Cruise and finally at #10 was INFERNO, the starring Tom Hanks

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Moonlight: One of the talked about independent films of the year finished at #12 in limited theaters $1.36 million in four weeks screening in just 176 theaters bringing its total to $4.48 million. Its great to see independent films breaking into the top twenty. It shows that a good film that touches the heart is capable of creating

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# 7 SHUT IN – which opened this weekend

so much buzz that academy members may be considering it for a nomination.

Hollywood analysts stress that the fall pre-holiday season is off to a great start with the current roster of films that are performing well at the box office throughout September and October.

Although there have been a few flops (ask Ron Howard about that) most of the bigger budgeted films have either met of exceeded expectations, which should be a good sign that the holiday film season should be a very good one for movie-lovers and the studios.

There are several notable big budget films lined up for the rest of November and December. Those films have already begun their

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Tyler Perry’s BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN still performing

holiday season campaign, including the upcoming STAR WARS film “ROGUE”.

We hope you take time to treat yourself to a great film this week or weekend and don’t forget to send us back your own reviews and feedback. We LOVE talking films and all of the things that make a film great. We invite you to participate not only in this blog, but also our HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT web shows and upcoming movie screenings.

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Heartland Film Names Craig Prater President

Congrats Craig Prater.

Heartland Film has named San Diego-based Craig Prater as president after a seven-month national search conducted by Arts Consulting Group. Prater began his international film festival career as executive director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (Palm Springs, California), where he co-founded the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the Film Noir Festival before being recruited by the Royal Thai government to lead their new Bangkok International Film Festival as executive director.

“The board of directors is thrilled to have someone of Craig Prater’s caliber take Heartland Film through this milestone year and beyond,” said Heartland Film Board Chair Gary D. Cohen.

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Prater also founded the Festival of Festivals, whose debut coincided with the opening of the Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City, California, and served as the director/producer of the Latino Film Festivals for the National Hispanic American Educational Foundation in Indio, California and Tampa, Florida. Most recently, Prater served as executive VP, strategic partnerships for the San Diego International Film Festival and director of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

Prater will start his role at Heartland Film as the organization makes final preparations for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival, set for Oct. 20-30 across Indianapolis. Major events include an opening night screening and party at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Thursday, Oct. 20 and a 25th Anniversary Celebration signature event at the AMC Castleton Square 14 Premiere Pavilion onFriday, Oct. 21. The full film and special event lineup will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival Announcement Party at the Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum.

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The meaning of Hollywood

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The LMG family – Woodie Lesesne, Tony C. Lesesne, Alexander Lesesne and Cameron Lesesne

Hollywood is more than a location, its a spirit; a mindset; the ability to get movies done by leveraging collaborative efforts. We had an opportunity during the Miami Media and Film Market (MMFM)  to host a small reception for individuals we consider among our closest supporters for more than a decade at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables Florida.

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back row – Randy DeWitt (executive and photographer), Mike Cortes (actor) front row – Alicia Couri (actor/author) and Sue-Ann Robinson-Caddy (attorney & on-camera talent)

We were excited to allow our guests to talk speak to one another about thier reasons for supporting us as well as what they want to see us achieve in the future as it relates to media, film and entertainment.

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Having fun (pictured clockwise) Brenda Lara, Henry Isaac, Rolin Gordon, Tony C. Lesesne, Alicia Couri, Sue-Ann Robinson-Caddy and Samuel Robinson

Those guests included actors with whom we have worked with as well as stake holders and our own LMG Team.

The highlight of the evening was clearly the screening of a few of our short films that we have completed over the past 3 years. Those films included work by each of us on our core team; Alex, Cameron, Tony and Woodie Lesesne, as well as mike Cortes, Cliff Townsend and newcomers like Henry Isaac and Alicia Couri.

But the real focus was on the future, which includes a comprehensive entertainment web channel with movies, lifestyle content, and entertainment news, as well as entertaining events and workshops. The broader effort includes our aggressive goals to create more feature films and documentaries.

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We thank those at the MMFM and come a call for providing us a platform of support. That also applies to CAMACOL, an organization that clearly understands the value of supporting the local filmmaker and its community. 20160608_214415That point was driving home with an amazing array of workshops and networking events that also brought individuals from the UK, Poland, China another international destinations. We look forward too much much more.

To stay in the loop about new shows and future films, events and workshops, connect on line at http://www.lesesnemediagroup.com

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X-Men: Apocalypse — Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

X-Men: Apocalypse 2016 We are starting to get deep into the summer movie season as we kick into the latest comic book movie with superheroes fighting superheroes, but at least in this case every movie has been about mutants fighting mutants. And very similar to the last two theatrical releases this year, I enjoyed this […]

via X-Men: Apocalypse — Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

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CAPTAIN AMERICA-CIVIL WAR IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS

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IT’S ON! Captain America’s toughest challenge to date is….uh, Iron Man? Yes, strap up for this one because I assure you that all hell will break loose.

By Tony C. Lesesne

 

The big debate on social media this week and for the next month or so is which side are you on in the battle between #TeamIronMan (Iron Man) and #teamcap (Captain America). That debate will likely catch fire when CAPTAIN AMERICA – CIVIL WAR hits theaters this weekend. Now before we get into the epic battle, let’s briefly explore that whole Cap vs Iron Man issue. No, I’m not going to give you any spoilers because that would suck. Besides, you guys have insisted that I learn how to write brief, concise reviews without giving away the critical essence of a film. Anyhow, the trailers alone get pretty close to spoiling everything.Captain-America-Civil-War-1-705x435

Here’s the deal. I saw the film and I’m telling you right up from that this is one of the best super hero films I’ve ever witnessed. Really! Here’s why; at the heart of the story is a powerful expose on friendship, loyalty, patriotism, political relevance, and revenge. All of these elements make for a great deal of emotion, passion, anxiety and ferocity. These are the elements that turn friends into rivals and change the course of one’s very core when a conflict is introduced. Trust me on this, the conflict are epic as well. The coolest thing about the film that helps us all stay in the moment is the fact that it kinda picks up from the previous Captain America films – especially the conflict centering on the relationship between Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Bucky, his childhood friend and loyal savior now called The Winter Soldier.

From a character standpoint, the two opposing leaders of the opposing sides are clearly Captain America and Iron Man. Let’s start with Captain America – who is as clean-cut and focused as ever, showing that he’s the kind of guy you want as a loyal friend for life. Captain-America-Civil-War (1)It pays dividends. I mean he’s so wholesome, and patriotic, and basically just a pretty cool guy so it’s easy to love “Cap” and what he stands for. Just when you enjoy his “nice guy” demeanor, he turns around and totally pulverizes the enemy is a way that makes you go DAYUM! Besides that, don’t forget that he’s a phenomenal military strategist with a mind for battlefield excellence and natural leadership abilities far beyond the norm.

And then there’s the charming, witty, super-cool hyper geek turned war technician we affectionately know as Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Really, who can resist the charm, sarcasm and brilliance of Tony Stark. more-captain-america-civil-war-trailer-breakdown-740992Stark is in full bloom in this film and we see him at his best and at his worst. In the film, we get a better understanding of the inner drive that shapes his perspective and reveals a segment of his character flaws from a clip highlighting his early years as a college student. The clip also exposes the tragedy that forces Stark to elevate his game. It’s a fascinating study in character development.

5-reasons-black-panther-will-be-your-favorite-character-in-captain-america-civil-war-915210And then, there is the introduction of Black Panther; a brilliant and fascinating addition that adds more flavor and electricity to the entire story line. He was the scene-stealer showcasing a level of elegance, dignity, style and fierceness.
Black Panther is the first black superhero in comic book history and is skillfully played by the incredible Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick-Boseman-T-Challa-Black-Panther-Captain-America-Civil-WarHis out of uniform character is T’Challa, the prince of fictional African country Wakanda who moonlights as a warrior hero (Black Panther).

The rest of the Avengers are in top form, each of which bring a level of comic relief and kick-ass thunder and lightning to the table. 24671823201_b4d4198716_bAdd to that a powerful element in the story that threatens to rip the very core of their alliance right from the start. All In by saying this, you won’t ever see a more dazzling fight scene sequence then you see in this movie. I mean from start to finish the fight scenes I just simply spectacular. But beyond that there is an incredible achievement from the writers to be able to pack this many characters and one story and still give each of them volume, substance, and a heart that we can follow.

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NATPE Miami 2016 Update

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Perth is eager for the 2016 NATPE

NATPE President and CEO Rod Perth announced today, details regarding NATPE Miami 2016. Growth remains the dominant theme with domestic and international buyer, exhibitor and general attendance pacing well ahead of last year. Perth confirmed expansion of the market and conference to the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort to accommodate the overall growth, which is scheduled to take place in Miami ‪Jan. 19-21 at both the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc Miami Beach resorts. The conference and market will bring together every sector of the industry under the banner theme, “Be Creative. Be Fearless. Be Ready.”

Perth also announced the finalists for the 2nd Annual Breakthrough Awards and the return of host Howie Mandel. Initial session details for NATPE 2016 were also revealed.

“We are delighted that with all of our most important numbers tracking ahead of last year’s capacity turnout, we have moved to substantially increase our physical space in 2016 by expanding to the Eden Roc next door to the Fontainebleau,” said NATPE President and CEO, Rod Perth. “The increase in exhibition sales and expanded events reflects the tremendous growth we are seeing throughout the conference.”

There are 29 new exhibitors from virtually every sector of the business attending the conference for the first time. Because of this demand, Perth also noted that all of the Fontainebleau tower suites have sold out with very few booths and meeting tables still available on both the Market Floor and within the Fontaine Ballroom, respectively.

This year’s conference features sessions and events with a focus on scripted television, including a session on the first day titled “The Business of Scripted.”  Within the Storytellers and Shaping of Pop Culture track, NATPE has lined-up a slate of intimate conversations showcasing major creative forces spanning numerous genres of television. Powerful combinations set to take the stage in Miami this year include chats with: Legends Norman Lear and Quincy Jones; non-scripted talents Kris Jenner and Todd Chrisley; showrunners Graham Yost (The Americans), John Eisendrath (The Blacklist) and Howard Gordon (Homeland); and Michelle Ashford (Showrunner, Masters of Sex), Ilene Chaiken (Showrunner, Empire), and Sarah Treem (Creator, The Affair).

In an environment in which advertisers are seeking access to the earliest stages of content development, the Masters of Marketing track at NATPE opens up the conversation about the opportunities, challenges and new business models around marrying creative visions with brand marketing objectives. An example of this includes a session entitled “What Creators Want to Say, What Brands Need to See”, which features Dan Harmon (Writer/Creator, Community), Marc Cherry (Executive Producer, Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids), Mitch Hurwitz (Writer/Producer, Arrested Development), Kristin Patrick (Global CMO, PepsiCo, Inc.), David Beebe (VP Global Creative & Content Marketing, Marriott Int’l) and more, together on one stage.
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After a successful debut last year, NATPE REALITY is back and expanding from one to two days. Officially the first reality and formats market of the year, NATPE REALITY will be the epicenter of the non-scripted world with a programming track overflowing with big names and breakthrough ideas. NATPE has curated this dedicated track to provide conference attendees with access to reality executives, cutting edge information and insights on the latest trends in reality programming.

A highlight of this two-day track is the 2nd Annual NATPE REALITY Breakthrough Awards.  This luncheon event will honor those reality programs that “broke through the clutter and made noise” in the preceding year becoming part of the cultural conversation and generally altering our perception of what’s possible in the genre. Perth also announced Howie Mandel (America’s Got Talent) as the returning host of the award show along with the following finalists in five categories:

COMPETITION – Alone; American Ninja Warrior; Lip Sync Battle; MasterChef Junior; Shark Tank; The Voice

DOCUSOAP – Alaskan Bush People; Chrisley Knows Best; I Am Cait; Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; Vanderpump Rules; Wahlburgers  

GAME SHOW – @Midnight; Billy On The Street; Celebrity Family Feud; Hellevator; Hollywood Game Night

REALITY – Catfish; Hard Knocks; Married At First Sight; Naked & Afraid; Project Greenlight

FACTUAL – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; Last Week Tonight With John Oliver; The Daily Show; The Jinx; Vice

Platforms are changing and NATPE continues to provide access to the shared knowledge needed to anticipate how the industry is evolving.  One of the many highlights of the Platform Accelerated track is the session “I Want What They’re Having,” featuring Chris Williams (Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios), Chris Jacquemin (Agent, Digital Media, WME), Jordan Gilbert (Head of Digital Programming, Lionsgate) and Harley Morenstein (Creator, Epic Meal Time). The panel will bring together this accomplished group to discuss how to bridge the divide between traditional and digital in views, audience appeal and gravitas.

NATPE’s continued emphasis on digital and mobile has expanded to include a broader focus across the conference. In the Game Changers track, digital is on display in “The Rise of New OTT Platforms” with David Freeman (Co-Head of Digital Talent, Packaging, CAA),Seth Laderman (EVP & GM, Comic Con SVOD, Lionsgate), Evan Shapiro (Executive VP, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal), Jimmy Maymann (President, Content & Consumer Brands, AOL), Floris Bauer (Senior Advisor, Otter Media) and Ben Relles (Head of Comedy and Unscripted, YouTube).

One of the ways NATPE will address the importance of mobile in the content business includes the session “Cracking the Mobile Code and Its Perceived Return on Investment”, which features Marcel Reichart (EVP RTL Digital Hub, RTL Group, and EVP, Digital Development and Partnerships, Bertelsmann), Allie Kline (CMO, AOL), and Tom Pickett (CEO of Ellation/AT&T), for a sharply focused look into the future of mobile monetization.

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LEGEND is Tom Hardy’s Tour de Force

Film Title: Legend

(L to R, center) Ronnie and Reggie Kray (TOM HARDY) raise a glass at their mother?s home in ?Legend?. From Academy Award? winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) and Working Title comes the true story of the rise and fall of London?s most notorious gangsters, both portrayed by Hardy in a powerhouse double performance.

legend-posterFilm Review by T.C. Lesesne

Fat chance anybody has ever heard of the Kray brothers. The British outlaws were bigger than life, and ruthless to the core, and yet captured the fancy of London’s high society as club owners and hosts of lavish entertainment events that attracted some of London’s most respected politicians and celebrities on the 1950’s and 60’s.

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ONE AND THE SAME: yet so different – Tom Hardy as both Ronnie (left) and Reggie Kray (right)

The trailer alone for LEGEND got my attention strictly due to the awesome look, style and bold statement revealing that Tom Hardy, just off the monster success of the 2015 mega-hit MAD MAX FURY ROAD.

With LEGEND, the dynamics are amazing and the tone is sizzling. The soundtrack is classic, and the performances are absolutely on point, especially that of Tom Hardy who got my attention with a fabulous performance in the last installment of The dynamics are amazing.

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The REAL Kray brothers – Reggie (left) and Ronnie (right) Photos by Getty Images

The soundtrack is classic, and the performances are absolutely on point, Legend comes the theaters with lots of height and expectation, and even more anticipation at the opportunity to watch Tom Hardy portray both Reginald and Ronnie Kray, the notorious  British gangsters who rose to fame and fell hard  in the 60s.

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Smooth but violent- both brothers (both player by Hardy) were equally lethal, yet inexplicably fascinating – hence a movie about them

Legend is a beautiful is shot highly stylized gangster film set in the 60’s in the East End of London and captures the rise of twin brothers Reggie, the handsome and socially sophisticated entertainer and club owner, who is also a ruthless and brutal gangster who cares deeply about his own neighborhood. Then there’s Ronnie, the psychopathic, mentally ill, murderous twin who has plenty of corks and issues that he deals with as intelligently as he can while his mental health deteriorates in his rise to power.

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in spite of a few plot holes, LEGEND is all the more fun to watch when both brothers are on screen together- supported by the magic of movies, hardy is able to work with…himself

The two brothers are inseparable and totally devoted to one another in spite of the collision course that their actions, personalities and crimes bring them head to head.

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Making a point: Ronnie Kray shows that action speaks louder than words in a bold and unexpected action a scene from LEGEND

The film also exposes another love story deeper than that of the two brothers. It is a passionate yet toxic love relationship between Reggie and the gorgeous young Francis, a girl from the East End hood and sister to one of the mobsters who work for Reggie. Their story often dominates the film as it helps reflect the gradual downfall and mental decline of both of them due to the stress of their lifestyle in crime and club-life.

Kudos to LEGEND director Brian Helgeland for capturing the look feel and style of the 60s while managing to keep the film balanced.

Film Title: Legend

Academy Award? winner BRIAN HELGELAND (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) on the set of ?Legend?. From writer/director Helgeland and Working Title comes the true story of the rise and fall of London?s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in a powerhouse double performance.

Kudos to the cast as well, pacifically to Tom Hardy who was able to provide a straight ahead yet compassionate performance of both brothers, in spite of their psychopathic, criminal and murderous intentions. This film is certainly a must see for your 2015 end of year film list.

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