In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release.
The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history after 24 hours.
The teaser trailer was unveiled Jan. 15 and generated 130 million views, topping the 116 million views for the first “Spider-Man: Homecoming” trailer. Sony said Friday the trailer was shared at twice the frequency of the first trailer for “Homecoming” and social conversation volume was also the highest in the studio’s history, topping 1.1 million posts in the first day. The studio reported that audiences were particularly excited to see Tom Holland’s return as Spider-Man and Jake Gyllenhaal’s debut as Mysterio.
The trailer began with Holland embarking on a European adventure that’s interrupted when spymaster Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) shows up to deal with several creature attacks. “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” directed by Jon Watts, hits theaters on July 5. Returning cast members are Zendaya as MJ, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan, and Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned.
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The Visual Effects Society has named Chris Meledandri, the founder and CEO of Illumination, as the forthcoming recipient of the VES lifetime achievement award.
The award will be presented at the 17th annual VES Awards on Feb. 5 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. VES will honor Meledandri for his unique ability to bring animation into the lives of audiences worldwide and create unforgettable characters.
“Chris Meledandri has greatly contributed to the advancement and ever-increasing success of mainstream animated entertainment over the last 20 years,” said Mike Chambers, VES board chair. “He is an amazing creative force and powerhouse producer, whose unique vision has delivered some of the most popular movie franchises of all time.”
Illumination’s upcoming films include “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “Minions 2,” and “Sing 2.” Previous winners of the VES lifetime achievement award have included James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Ray Harryhausen, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, John Dykstra, Frank Marshall & Kathleen Kennedy, Ridley Scott, and Ken Ralston.
The Costume Designers Guild has selected Glenn Close to be honored with the spotlight award, and costume designer Betty Pecha Madden for the distinguished service award.
The 21st CDGA Awards will take place on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The spotlight award honors an actor whose talent and career personify an enduring commitment to excellence, including a special awareness of the role and importance of costume design.
Costume designer Anthony Powell, who worked with Close on “101 Dalmatians,” “102 Dalmatians,” “Hook,” and all of her “Sunset Boulevard” performances, said, “Glenn Close is a costume designer’s dream. Her commitment to creating character is awe-inspiringly total: nothing fazes her, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable. Time and time again she has said to me, ‘I don’t know if I can manage it, but I’ll try,’ and always she succeeds triumphantly.”
Six independent film distributors in the U.S. are supporting the launch of OVID.TV, a video-on-demand subscription service drawing from their catalogs.
The founding content partners are Bullfrog Films, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, and KimStim.
Jonathan Miller of Icarus Films, who will act as director of OVID, said in a statement, “The time for this kind of partnership is now, as the streaming giants focus on generating fast-turnaround new content, this coalition will offer new access to high-quality catalogs found nowhere else, featuring some of the most celebrated filmmakers and films in the cannon.”
Its initial offerings will fall into categories of films addressing urgent the social issues of climate change and economic justice, and in-depth selections of creative documentaries by Chantal Akerman, Michael Apted, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Patricio Guzman, Heddy Honigmann, Chris Marker, Ross McElwee, Bill Morrison, Raoul Peck, Jean Rouch, Wang Bing, and Travis Wilkerson.
Historical drama “Cliffs of Freedom” has been set for a release by AMC USA in New York and Los Angeles on March 1, followed by expansions on the next two weeks.
Long-time James Cameron collaborator Van Ling made his directorial debut in the movie about Greece’s War of Independence in 1821. The cast includes Tania Raymonde, Christopher Plummer, Patti LuPone, Billy Zane, and Raza Jaffrey.
Raymonde plays a Greek freedom fighter whose life is spared at the age of 12 by a Turkish Ottoman Colonel during the dawn of the war. Aegean Entertainment is the production company.