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Kobe Bryant Dunks Into China with Alibaba Pact

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NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is driving hard to the basket in China, in a wide-ranging pact with Alibaba Group. Under the deal, Alibaba Group will release the L.A. Lakers shooting guard’s documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” on Saturday, Aug. 8, exclusively through its Tmall Magic Box Internet set-top box (priced at 8 yuan, or about $1.30). The film, an account of Bryant’s life on… Read more »

Pez Candy Animated Movie in the Works

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Pez candy is getting the movie treatment. Envision Media Arts is developing an animated film based on the 88-year-old pressed, chalky, tablet-shaped candy and dispensers, which often feature iconic pop culture characters. Cameron Fay (“Brother in Laws”) will write the screenplay, while Lee Nelson and David Buelow will produce for EMA. Gregg Rossen, Brian Sawyer… Read more »

Watch: Robert De Niro Goes to Work for Anne Hathaway in ‘The Intern’ Trailer

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Robert De Niro plays Anne Hathaway’s 70-year-old intern in the upcoming, aptly titled film “The Intern.” De Niro’s widowed character explains his unorthodox decision in the new trailer, released by Warner Bros. on Monday. “In retirement, there’s an ongoing relentless effort in creativity,” De Niro says. “I tried yoga, learned to cook, bought some plants,… Read more »

Why Jon Stewart Might Be Irreplaceable

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Director J.J. Abrams told Jon Stewart that the void left by his exit from “The Daily Show” would be “seismic and massive.” In his own retirement interview, legendary latenight producer Peter Lassally – a veteran of “The Tonight Show” and “Late Late Show” – said before Trevor Noah was tapped that in terms of replacing… Read more »

Relativity: Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ ‘Damascus Cover’ Not Among ‘Casualties’

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LONDON — A spokesperson for sales company Carnaby International has confirmed that espionage thriller “Damascus Cover,” starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and and John Hurt, is not one of the “casualties” of Relativity Media’s decision to file for Chapter 11. “As an official representative of the film, I can confirm that there are no contractual commitments… Read more »

‘Siens,’ ‘Hommes’ ‘Retina’ Enter Locarno’s Open Doors

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LOCARNO— Hassan Legzouli’s “Dieu reconnaitra les siens,” Mehdi Ben Attia’s “L’Amour des hommes” and Nejib Belkadhi’s “Retina” are among 12 projects to be pitched at Locarno’s Open Doors showcase, a co-production forum focusing this year on Africa’s Maghreb countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. Taking place August 8-11 at the Swiss Fest, the event will… Read more »

AT&T Rushes to Meld DirecTV Into Mobile-Phone Bundles

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AT&T, aiming to show consumers — and investors — the benefits of gulping down DirecTV for $49 billion, has quickly hammered together an all-wireless bundle combining the satcaster’s TV service with mobile-phone plans. The telco is aiming the “all-in-one” packages at consumers who don’t want traditional landline phone service, and either don’t have cable TV or are… Read more »

Eran Creevy’s Thriller ‘Collide’ Reverses Out of U.S. Release with Relativity: Report

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LONDON — The U.S. rights for Eran Creevy’s action thriller “Collide,” which was due for release Stateside by Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity on Oct. 30, have allegedly reverted to the producers, according to a report Monday. The news follows Relativity’s entry into Chapter 11 last week. The movie, which stars Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Ben Kingsley… Read more »

Venice Days Adds Julie Delpy-Directed ‘Lolo’ Starring Herself And Dany Boon To Lineup

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ROME – Julie Delpy’s return to French filmmaking, “Lolo,” a high-profile comedy starring herself and Gallic superstar Dany Boon (“Welcome to the Sticks”) has been added as the eleventh competition title at the Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section, which is modeled on the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Delpy stars as Violette, a 40-year… Read more »

Viacom and Murdoch-Owned Sky Strengthen Ties In Italy

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ROME – Viacom International and Murdoch-owned paybox Sky Italy have strengthened their Italo ties, adding two new branded channels, Teen Nick and MTV Next, following a key free-to-air deal. The Viacom pay-TV content boost on Sky follows Sky Italy’s purchase from Viacom of free-to-air channel MTV Italia, officialized on August 1. Unlike the U.S. and… Read more »