Sony Pictures Entertainment will produce fewer films as it makes a "significant" shift from motion pictures to higher-margin television production and to operating TV channels, Sony Corp executives told investors gathered at the company's Culver City, California, studio lot. The declaration came as Sony battles to win investor support after a letter from hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb in May called on Sony to spin off to investors a portion of its entertainment business and take steps to improve the studio's profitability. The studio has identified $250 million in overhead and procurement cost cuts that it expects to make in the next two or three years, said Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman said on Thursday that he had a skin cancer scare when doctors diagnosed a mark on his nose as cancerous cells. Jackman, 45, posted a photo of his face and a bandage on his nose on his Instagram page, saying his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, told him to get his nose checked, and he was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, cancerous cells that grow on the surface of the skin. The online medical site WebMD.com said basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and accounts for more than 90 percent of U.S. skin cancer patients.
By Mary Milliken BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - When British comedic actor Steve Coogan first read the mournful story behind his new film "Philomena" in a newspaper, he noticed that the two people in the accompanying picture were laughing. The photo showed Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman looking for the son she was forced to give up as a teenage girl, and former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith who had accompanied her on her search and written a book about it in 2009. "I wondered if I could tell a story like this, a tragic and moving story, and find the way to make people smile at the same time." That musing led Coogan to co-write, co-produce and co-star as Sixsmith in "Philomena," opposite veteran British actress Dame Judi Dench in the title role.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio's conservation foundation has awarded a $3 million grant to the World Wildlife Fund to help Nepal increase its tiger population. The WWF said on Thursday that the money from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, set up by the 39-year-old star of "The Great Gatsby" and the upcoming film "The Wolf of Wall Street," will be used for an initiative to double the number of tigers in Nepal by 2022 - the next Chinese year of the tiger. nowhere is that more evident than in Nepal," Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the WWF, said in a statement.
Sony's Pictures Entertainment will produce fewer films going forward as it makes a "significant" shift from motion pictures to higher-margin television production and to operating TV channels, Sony Corp executives told investors gathered at the company's Culver City, California, studio lot. The declaration came as Sony battles to win investor support after a letter from hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb in May called on Sony to spin off to investors a portion of its entertainment business and take steps to improve the studio's profitability. The studio has identified $250 million in overhead and procurement cost cuts that it expects to make in the next two or three years, said Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
By Michael Roddy LONDON (Reuters) - The remaining members of British comedy troupe Monty Python announced on Thursday they would regroup for the first time since the 1980s to stage a comedy and musical show next year at one of London's biggest venues. The one-off show on July 1 will be tailored to fit the massive O2 Arena and feature some of the group's most famous material, but also will include skits never before performed on stage, the five Pythons said at a news conference. "We just thought it would be fun to try and see if we were still funny and that is our intention so far, just to do the O2 and see if we can fill it," Eric Idle, one of the members of the group who are all now in their 70s, said. Asked what the show would offer, he said: "I expect a little comedy, pathos, music and a tiny piece of ancient sex." John Cleese said they wanted to include some of their most famous routines, such as the "Dead Parrot", but would work in new material as well.
Christopher McQuarrie will direct the British actor in a new adaptation of French author Jean-Patrick Manchette's "3 to Kill," published in French in 1976. The feature will place Colin Firth in the role of a businessman on the run from two professional killers after witnessing a murder. Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote and directed "Jack Reacher" in 2012, has accepted to helm the crime thriller, which will be set in France, Deadline.com reports. "Three to Kill" will be the second film adaptation of Manchette’s novel, following French director Jacques Deray’s 1980 film "Trois hommes à abattre," headlined by Alain Delon.
By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When the sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" debuts worldwide on Friday, industry analysts believe the movie from studio Lions Gate Entertainment will set international box offices ablaze in a bigger way than the first film. The original "Hunger Games" movie in 2012 became a smash hit with strong sales in the United States and Canada, but pulled in less than half of its box office grosses in overseas markets, a modest foreign take by blockbuster standards. To lift overseas sales for "Catching Fire," earlier this month Lions Gate sent actress Jennifer Lawrence and her co-stars on a whirlwind tour with premieres in five European cities in five days, taking the unusual step of promoting the film in several foreign markets before the big U.S. premiere, held on November 18 at the 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The first "Hunger Games" film collected just 41 percent of its $691 million in total ticket sales outside the United States and Canada, according to the Box Office Mojo website, the third lowest foreign percentage among the top 100 films of all time.