Film News Roundup: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel Is Fall’s Most Anticipated Movie, Says Survey

In today’s film news roundup, the second “Fantastic Beasts” movie is named the fall’s most anticipated movie, “What Is Democracy” gets distribution, and the ReelAbilities Film Festival is coming to Los Angeles.


Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” has been selected as the most anticipated fall movie in a survey by online ticketing service Fandango of more than 1,000 film fans.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Venom,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “A Star Is Born” were selected as the season’s other most anticipated blockbusters for the period between Sept. 7 and Thanksgiving weekend.

Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said, “Moviegoers are particularly excited about the long-awaited return to Hogwarts in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ as well as a double-dose of movies driven by music, with ‘A Star Is Born’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ poised as prominent awards season contenders.”

The second “Fantastic Beasts” movie opens Nov. 16 and stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.

Popular on Variety

The survey also identified Lady Gaga’s role in “A Star Is Born” as fall’s most anticipated actress and Rami Malek’s performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the season’s most anticipated actor. Bradley Cooper and Gaga were named the most anticipated duo and “Halloween” was identified as the most anticipated horror movie.


Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber have acquired U.S. rights for Astra Taylor’s documentary “What Is Democracy?” ahead of its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The movie will open at the IFC Center in January. The film is a philosophical journey that aims to connect past and present from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis, to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor. The film features theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, Trump supporters, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers.

Taylor’s credits include “Zizek!” and “Examined Life.” The deal was negotiated by Richard Lorber of Kino Lorber, Nancy Gerstman of Zeitgeist Films, and Nathalie Bourdon and Oscar Rangel of the National Film Board of Canada.

Zeitgeist co-presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo said, “We couldn’t be happier to work with Astra again as she is one of our heroes. She is fearless in her investigations and leaves no provocative stone unturned. We’re thrilled to share her newest film with our exhibitors and the public.”


The inaugural ReelAbilities Film Festival: Los Angeles has selected Chloé Zhao’s drama “The Rider” as its opening night film on Oct. 11 and the comedy “Santuary” as its closing film on Oct. 14.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival was founded more than ten years ago in New York City and now held annually in multiple cities throughout North America with a focus on films by and about people with disabilities. The festival is produced by the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Commission on Disability and ReelAbilities North America.

“At a time when inclusion has been moved to the forefront of the entertainment industry, issues of disability remain just out of focus,” said Stephen David Simon, executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability. “Now is the ideal time to bring the ReelAbilities Film Festival to Los Angeles. We look forward to celebrating these brilliant and remarkable stores with our fellow Angelenos.”

“The Rider” focuses on a cowboy who, after suffering a near fatal head injury, undertakes a search for a new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, picking up the top prize in the Directors’ Fortnight category, and went on to receive four Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations.

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