History-making box office projections for Todd Phillips’s “Joker” (2019)

With critics raving about Todd Phillips’s Joker (2019) en masse at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, long-range box office projections for the film have skyrocketed, according to Comic Book Resources. If its forecasts prove accurate, then the movie will rake in the fourth-highest opening of all time for an R-rated release, behind Tim Miller’s Deadpool (2016), David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 (2018), and Andy Muschietti’s It (2017). As for the DCEU, it would outpace Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2017) and match Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman (2017), and even if Joker performs at the lower end of its estimates, it will still surpass Ruben Fleischer’s Venom (2018) as the top-grossing October opener ever.

Dakota Fanning speaks out on backlash against new role as Ethiopian Muslim

Dakota Fanning took to Instagram Wednesday to respond to the controversy surrounding her part as a Muslim woman in Ethiopia in Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Sweetness in the Belly (2019), according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The twenty-five-year-old actress says her character is British, abandoned by her parents in Africa at seven years old and raised Muslim; the film, based on a book by Camilla Gibb, will debut at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival later this month. Twitter’s reaction to the casting is still divided, with some defending the faithfulness to the source material and others criticizing the whiteness of the protagonist.

Scarlett Johansson comes out in defense of Woody Allen

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Scarlett Johansson has joined the likes of Anjelica Huston and Javier Bardem in defending Woody Allen against sexual abuse allegations from his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, according to The Guardian. Other artists, such as Timothée Chalamet, Greta Gerwig, as well as Colin Firth, say they regret working with the filmmaker, who is waging a legal battle right now with Amazon over their termination of a four-film agreement after remarks he made about #MeToo. Johansson, a founding member of Time’s Up, starred in Allen’s Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006), and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

Rebuilding the Afghanistan film industry under the Taliban

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For six days a week inside a windowless room, four men clean and repair sixteen- and thirty-five-millimeter film one strip at a time. (Image Courtesy: The Washington Post).

With the United States and the Taliban negotiating to end their eighteen-year conflict, archivists at Afghan Film, the nationalized filmmaking company, are conserving and digitizing reels not yet destroyed or decayed since the civil war began in 1992, according to The Washington Post. After taking over Kabul in 1996, the Islamic militants, enforcing the strictest interpretations of religious modesty, banned music and motion pictures to keep women’s faces from appearing onscreen with uncovered hair, lusting for a leading man. Actor Mamnoon Maqsoodi says Afghanistan cherishes movies because they function as a coping mechanism in a rich culture devastated by decades of war.

New study finds Latinx community disproportionately underrepresented in American film

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Together, the Inclusion Initiative and the NALIP recommend more sensitive casting (even for secondary parts), constructing a pipeline for writers, directors, and producers, as well as investing more in resources for Latino artists. (Image Courtesy: TheWrap).

The University of Southern California Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative, in partnership with the National Partnership of Latino Independent Producers, has found that only three percent of the leads in the top hundred grossing films from 2007 to 2018 are Latino, according to TheWrap. Even further, four-and-a-half percent of all speaking characters are Latino, despite the ethnic group being the largest in the United States, and these roles are commonly relegated to such stereotypes as poor, isolated criminals. Of greater than a thousand top-grossing movies from 2007 to 2018, only four percent of the American directors are Latino (one out of thirteen hundred is Latina), and just three percent of the producers are Latinx.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” gets an animated screen adaptation

Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, who directed the Golden Globe-winning Waltz with Bashir (2008), is releasing an animated film titled Where Is Anne Frank? about Frank’s life in hiding as well as what awaited her family after their arrest, according to The Jerusalem Post. In March, Folman announced that the seventeen-and-a-half million-euro project had wrapped, complete with English-speaking voice actors as well as two-dimensional characters against stop-motion backgrounds by puppeteer Andy Gent. Gent’s other screen credits include Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Isle of Dogs (2018), and no premiere date has yet been scheduled for his collaboration with Folman.

What we know so far about Vince Gilligan’s “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (2019)

Netflix has dropped a teaser trailer for Vince Gilligan’s El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019), with authorities interrogating Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) as to the location of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), according to The Guardian. Taking place after Jesse’s escape in a stolen Chevrolet El Camino at the end of AMC’s Breaking Bad (2008-2013), the only painstakingly curated, spoiler-free details Netflix will release about the film are that for Jesse to have a future, he must face his past. The picture will be uploaded to Netflix October 11, and it is anticipated to be broadcast on AMC as well.