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"The Equalizer" gives Denzel one of his best openings ever

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Pittsburgh-born director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington (above) delivered with “The Equalizer,” the No. 1 movie of the weekend.

It grossed an estimated $35 million in North America and was Washington’s third best opening behind “American Gangster” ($43.6 million) and “Safe House” ($40.2 million), according to Rentrak.

Washington, who made the rounds of the late-night talk shows, is a hit with men along with women who seemingly will follow him anywhere, even into violent, R-rated action territory.

The top 10 from box office tracker Rentrak:

“The Equalizer” -- $35,000,000.

“The Maze Runner” -- $17,500,000, bringing its total to $58,018,327.

“The Boxtrolls” -- $17,250,000.

“This Is Where I Leave You” -- $7,010,000, for $22,556,751 to date.

“Dolphin Tale 2” -- $4,835,000, or $33,665,037.

“No Good Deed” -- $4,600,000, bumping its total to $46,623,094.

“A Walk Among the Tombstones” – $4,233,840, or $20,871,345 since release.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” -- $3,789,000, for a year-high of $319,192,000.

“Let’s Be Cops” -- $1,515,000, or $79,627,863 so far.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” -- $1,450,000, for $187,182,132.

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Dawn Keezer marks 20 years with Pittsburgh Film Office

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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It’s not a bad way to mark your 20th anniversary -- by knowing that “The Last Witch Hunter” starring Vin Diesel is shooting in Pittsburgh and a Will Smith drama (as timely as they come) is preparing to do the same. 
 
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Dawn Keezer as director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. She replaced Robert Curran, who resigned in April 1994 to take a job with MGM Television in Los Angeles. Curran had started as “The Silence of the Lambs” was completing production. 
 
When she was hired, Keezer was a 29-year-old from Santa Cruz, Calif., who was  director of public affairs/film commissioner of the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council. Before that, she was the administrator and film commissioner for the Merced, Calif., Convention and Visitors Bureau. 
 
Christian-BaledkblogIn an interview with the Post-Gazette at the time, she called the crew base in Pittsburgh “large, diverse and very well qualified” and the area “film friendly.” That is more true today than at any time in the past couple of decades. 
 
Keezer had emerged from 156 candidates, recalled Russ Streiner, the office’s board chairman and one of the producers of "Night of the Living Dead." The original, of course.
 
“Dawn was the last person to interview and from the moment she left the room we knew she was the right person to lead the organization.”
 
Emma-Watson-4In a statement marking the milestone, Keezer said:  “I am honored to be a part of the Pittsburgh Film Office for 20 years. I have enjoyed working with the board of directors, staff, city, county and state officials to bring these vital film productions to the southwestern Pennsylvania region and creating thousands of local jobs.”
 
Keezer started as “Sudden Death” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme at the now-gone Civic Arena  was underway. She helped to bring the Sharon Stone film “Diabolique” to Pittsburgh, convincing the production that a school in the middle of Squirrel Hill could double for one in the French countryside.
 
foxcatcherdkblogbvShe is credited with bringing 94 film and television productions (including the series “Supah Ninjas” and “Those Who Kill”), for an economic return of $635 million, to the southwestern Pennsylvania region. The recent highlights include “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and (bound for some sort of Oscar glory), “Foxcatcher.” 
 
Craig Davis, president & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, was also part of the 1994 search committee. In a statement, he said, in part: “Dawn put Pittsburgh on the map as a destination for the film industry and we have all benefited from the positive national exposure that she helped garner for the city.”
 
Her vision for the future:  “Ongoing, sustainable funding for the PFO; a plan to put the local film and entertainment industry at the front of the overall industry; and incorporating all of our regional assets: education programs, technology and traditional filmmaking.”
 
 

 

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Chadwick Boseman talks splits, pinching pennies and how the best is yet to come

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson and James Brown, is featured in GQ’s first “Age Issue,” celebrating the idea of looking awesome at any age. 
 
It also features Blake Griffin, Norman Reedus, Clive Owen, and Tom Selleck. 
 
GQ surveyed the five about getting old, staying young, looking sharp, and living well, whether you’re 25 or 75. The October issue of GQ is available on newsstands in New York and L.A. today and nationally Sept.  30.
 
Excerpts from his interview, with a link to the full piece below:
 
On the physicality of his roles:  “ I did the splits ninety-six times one day on ‘Get On Up.’ ”
   
On his favorite fitness trick: “Juicing. I got my own personal masticating juicer at home.”
 
On mistakes he’s made: “I might have had too many friends in my 20s. I’ve definitely closed things down. No new friends now.” 
 
On the most stressful time in his life: “I think the most stressful time of my life was when I was in New York and I didn’t have money to pay my rent. I was going to the mailbox every day waiting for the check to come. When you don’t have money, when you’ve got, like, a jar full of change and each day it’s ‘Okay, I’ve got enough to get on the train’ and ‘Maybe that check’s gonna come today ...’   There’s nothing more stressful than your stomach growling. But interestingly enough, some of my best writing came when I was poor and hungry—living off water and oatmeal, mind clear.
 
On what’s next:  “I’m not kicking back enjoying the spoils, because it’s like I don’t think I’ve done my best work yet, you know what I’m saying? It ain’t no time to rest right now.
 
Photo by Sebastian Kim/GQ. For the full story, see: 
 

 

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Want to be in Will Smith football movie? Details on extras casting

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

Will-Smith-4The Will Smith movie, scheduled to start shooting here in October, is looking for extras. 
 
The drama about the timely topic of NFL concussions is based on the October 2009 GQ story “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, a resident of Scenery Hill, Washington County.
 
The Oscar nominee will play Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first pathologist in the world to detect chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a Ridley Scott production being directed and written by Peter Landesman (“Parkland”). 
 
Here is the press release: 
 
Real Heaven, Inc. Extras Casting is seeking football players for the feature film “Untitled Will Smith Project” (working title). This film is based on true events in Pittsburgh, PA. Football players will portray professional and college level team members. We are recruiting football players with real experience. 
 
SYNOPSIS: This film is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a professional football player and brought awareness to the public. As he blows the whistle on player injuries, Omalu’s quest humanizes the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports — and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of pro sports.
 
Those interested in participating as football players must attend the Open Call Tryout.
 
Date:  Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. 
 
Time: 9 a.m. 
 
Location:  The football field at Bethel Park HS, Practice Field 1, 309 Church Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102.
 
Details:  Looking for men 18 to 30 years old who have prior football experience (at least high school level) and are not currently in high school or playing for a college team, due to eligibility issues. 
 
Anyone trying out must wear workout gear, and bring grass football cleats.
 
Extras who are hired will receive $250 for 1 rehearsal day and $400 for 1 film date.  Rehearsal and exact film dates will be two days between Oct.  20-31, 2014. 
 
In order to be considered you MUST be able to make yourself completely available for both film and rehearsal dates. 
 
For more information regarding football tryouts or to preregister please email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
For all others looking to be extras in the film, we are looking for those to fill roles including former professional football players, Pittsburgh football fans, administrators, reporters and lawyers. (18yrs+) For more information on how to sign up visit: movieextraspittsburgh.com
 
(Remember to contact the email and site above, not the Post-Gazette which cannot hire you, no matter how far you can throw a football.) 

 

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Top movie of the week is ...

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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walkamongtombstonesblog“The Maze Runner” sprinted to the top of the weekend box office with an estimated $32.5 million, edging out “A Walk Among the Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson and the ensemble dramedy, “This Is Where I Leave You.” 
 
Rentrak, which provided the early estimates below, reports the post-summer momentum is slowly building as box office is up strongly from the same weekend a year ago.
 
The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and other outlets report Fox has set a Sept. 18, 2015, release for a sequel to "Maze Runner."
 
Early box office estimates from Rentrak:
 
1. “The Maze Runner” — $32,500,000
2. “A Walk Among the Tombstones” — $13,126,080.
3. “This Is Where I Leave You” — $11,860,000.
4. “No Good Deed” — $10,200,000, bringing its total to $40,108,052.
5. “Dolphin Tale 2” — $9,005,000, for $27,069,894 to date. 
6. “Guardians of the Galaxy” — $5,180,000, bumping its North American gross to $313,669,000
7. “Let’s Be Cops” — $2,675,000, or $77,195,671 to date. 
8. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — $2,650,000, for $185,017,989 since release.
9. “The Drop” — $2,050,000, in limited release compared with most others, for $7,689,701.
10. “If I Stay” — $1,835,000, for $47,671,777
 
 

 

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