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Film News Roundup: Release of Elton John Biopic ‘Rocketman’ Pushed Back Two Weeks

In today’s film news roundup, Paramount moves “Rocketman” back slightly, Freestyle buys a thriller and TCM partners with the African American Film Critics Association.

RELEASE DATE

Paramount has moved its Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton, back two weeks to May 31, 2019.

Dexter Fletcher is directing and Elton John, David Furnish, Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, and David Reid are producing. The film, written by Lee Hall, will cover John’s emergence as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music to becoming a music superstar.

Jamie Bell will portray John’s longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard will play John’s mother Sheila. Richard Madden and Gemma Jones also star in “Rocketman,” which will open against Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and Universal’s untitled Blumhouse project. The May 17 slot includes Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 3,” Universal’s “A Dog’s Journey” and Warner’s “The Sun is Also a Star.”

ACQUISITION

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired global digital rights to the suspense-thriller “Live,” which will debut on VOD and will be available to rent and own on Sept. 18.

Written and directed by Michael V. Greene, “Live” stars Kellie Greene, Eddie B. Hill, Asante Jones, Giovanni Lopes, Sean McBride, Norman Towns and Taylor Dunn. Producers are Greene, McBride, and Sentwali Holder.

The story centers on a private detective hired to find a woman whose abduction was live-streamed on Facebook. Two persons of interest emerge — a mysterious man named Josh Jones and an anonymous hacker wannabe, Patrick Flannagan.

Freestyle Digital Media Acquisitions Director, Rachel Koehler, negotiated the acquisition deal with filmmaker Greene.

PARTNERSHIP

Turner Classic Movies and the African American Film Critics Association are partnering on “The Black Experience on Film,” a month-long programming initiative showcasing portrayals of African Americans.

Hosted by 13 different members of AAFCA from print, online and broadcast outlets throughout the country, programming begins Sept. 4 and continues every Tuesday and Thursday in primetime. The first program, “Exploring Black Identity,” includes AAFCA President Gil Robertson and critic Ronda Racha Penrice discussing films including Oscar Micheaux’s look at racial violence in “Within Our Gates” (1920) to Julie Dash’s 1991 story following three generations of Gullah women in “Daughters of the Dust.”

“Since the earliest days of film, the portrayal of black characters has ranged from stereotypical and one-dimensional to more nuanced and complex. With this programming tentpole, we will explore this important part of film history specifically from an African-American perspective with insightful commentary from some of the nation’s most prominent film critics,” said TCM’s Charles Tabesh.

Robertson said, “The legacy of African Americans in cinema often goes untold, but it has been a long and arduous journey. Since the earliest beginnings of the art form, African Americans have had a presence in cinema. That is the point we hope these 32 films will drive home. Our intent is that audiences be engaged, entertained and enlightened by the sheer diversity and breadth of this substantial arc of film programming.”

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