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Film News Roundup: ‘Vikings’ Actress Katheryn Winnick Joins Liam Neeson Thriller

In today’s film news roundup, Katheryn Winnick and Juan Pablo Raba get cast, Bruce Springsteen’s documentary gets a release; Kinepolis buys a Michigan movie chain; and Beyond Fest sets its lineup.

CASTINGS

“Vikings” actress Katheryn Winnick and Juan Pablo Raba (“Narcos”) have joined Liam Neeson in the action-thriller “The Minutemen.”

The movie will begin shooting on Sept. 9 in New Mexico and Ohio. The story follows a rancher, played by Neeson, who becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who have pursued him into the US. Raba will portray the leader of the assassins.

Robert Lorenz is directing from a screenplay written by Chris Charles and Danny Kravitz with the latest draft by Lorenz. Sculptor Media’s Warren Goz and Eric Gold will finance and produce alongside Zero Gravity Management’s Tai Duncan and Mark Williams. Raven Capital Management’s James Masciello will executive produce with Voltage Pictures’ CEO Nicolas Chartier and President Jonathan Deckter. Voltage is handling international sales.

Lorenz has earned three Oscar nominations as a producer for “American Sniper,” “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Mystic River.” Voltage has won six Academy Awards including Best Picture for “The Hurt Locker.”

RELEASE DATE

Warner Bros. has set an Oct. 25 theatrical release in North America for Bruce Springsteen’s documentary “Western Stars.”

The film, which centers on the making of Springsteen’s studio album, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and be shown through Fathom Events on Oct. 19 and 23. The album was released in June through Columbia Records.

“Western Stars” is directed by Springsteen’s longtime collaborator Thom Zimny. Springsteen’s past movies with Zimny include “Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run,” “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” and “Springsteen on Broadway.”

ACQUISITION

Belgium-based Kinepolis has reached an agreement to acquire the Michigan-based movie theater chain MJR Digital Cinemas for $152 million.

MJR Digital Cinemas operates 10 movie theater complexes with a total of 164 screens. Seven locations are owned. The acquisition of MJR fits into Kinepolis’ expansion strategy and allows the it to expand its investment in the North American market only eighteen months after the acquisition of Landmark Cinemas in Canada.

Kinepolis expects to be able to complete the transaction before the end of October. It will continue to operate MJR under the existing brand name with the current management in place. PJ Solomon served as the financial advisor to MJR.

FILM FESTIVAL

Beyond Fest has selected “Color Out of Space” as its opening night film on Sept. 25 at the  Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
A reunion screening of “Natural Born Killers” will close the festival on Oct. 8 with director Oliver Stone, actors Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson and producer Don Murphy in person.
Other titles include Palme d’Or winner “Paraside” with writer/director Bong Joon-Ho in person; Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit”; Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite Is My Name”; Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s Sundance movie “The Lodge”; and Elijah Wood’s directorial debut “Come to Daddy.”

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