Category Archives: Crime

Christopher Levy Launches CINEFLIK a new streaming service that cares


The film industry is ruled by companies that value corporate gain over artistry and films that tell real stories. These companies don’t give independent filmmakers a chance. In a time where it is so important that voices are heard through the imaginative minds of the creatives out there with a dream. 
 

I have been in the film industry for two decades. I have seen how they operate with a tunnel vision focus on numbers and sales. Large studios and others are taking advantage of independent filmmakers. They are not given a fair chance to showcase their talents, and they are not being adequately paid for their art. I have been a producer for several studios and I have seen how they turn everything into numbers. There is no creativity, there is no freedom. Everything turned into a walking barcode that depicted your worth. All you look for is the next “big hit”. The old saying that you are as good as your last movie constantly in playback in your head. 

I quit everything in 2019 and set to reinvent myself and what I stand for. I started my own production company to seek out true talent with beautiful stories, now adding to the distribution side, having a presence in Cannes, Berlin, and L.A’s AFM. It is not enough that these films are being made, but they deserve the opportunity to be seen.

CINEFLIK is a streaming service built for people who want exposure, a platform to showcase creativity and talent. Whilst we are not as established as Amazon, HBO max, and others, what sets us apart is that we care. We care about the integrity of filmmaking and the efforts that you have put in, as an artist to create these films. You are not just a number to us, we will also put in our all to make sure your story has the opportunity for maximum exposure. That is why I have also partnered with INFILMS Magazine to promote filmmakers. 

A streaming service that cares about art and also the filmmakers 

With CINEFLIK, the film owners decide on the price of rental and receive a cut of 80%. We will give you a fair price because we understand how other larger companies will try and take advantage. We will not compromise the opportunity for distribution with fair compensation. For example, Amazon pays only 6 cents per hour, for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a period of 365 days, tied in with an exclusive rights clause. Not only are they taking advantage, but they are making sure that you are legally unable to sell or share your stories with others. If you rent your film for $1.99, you will get $1.59 with CINEFLIK as opposed to $0.06 you would get from Amazon, with 100 downloads is a difference between $159 and $6 with Amazon.
We only keep 20% to maintain the site.

Unlike other services we also don’t follow a set of rules and requirements that may restrict distribution. For instance, Redbox has a list of preferred titles and requests, like; Action genre with a recognizable cast, supernatural horror, and family films that are animated standalone features. They only accept “new” titles that have been produced in a rolling two-year time span, they don’t consider films that have previously been available on DVD or via SVOD streaming services, NC-17 ratings and features under 80 minutes are out of the questions and don’t even think about direct television in the Comedy or Drama genre or Foreign Language films or Documentaries. With all these restrictions, they are not accepting of a variety of content, effectively closing doors to many filmmakers. On top of that, they set the price and pay around $2.75 to $3.50 per disc, this is largely dependent on the cast, genre, and a fit for their customers. A factor that is completely determined by themselves, which doesn’t sound fair at all. The film owners would have to pay for the DVDs and they would have complete control of how many times your movie is rented. We do not want to go down this path, CINEFLIK is fair, we set the pricing together with the film owner, we respect that they deserve to have their films and shows distributed at a fair price. We respect and accept all submissions of genres, the audience is always evolving and we want to anticipate what they want by providing a range of films and shows. 

This marks a new chapter to promote independent filmmakers in a way that does not involve bias or pure judgment of how much money they can generate. CINEFLIK carries everything, including, Classic Movies, Independent Films, short and full-length Features, as well as all genres of Television shows. We embrace creativity and have a thirst for real stories and originality. We want your trust in your films. Let us take you onboard and together we can discover a whole new audience for you. I am excited about the future, we can challenge the underlying issues of the film industry together and pave the way for real stories and talent that is often overlooked by Hollywood executives. 

Let’s take this challenge on together, no more waiting, no more negotiations, no more banging on the wrong door. We are here to make it happen.

You can access CINEFLIK here http://www.cineflik.com
Membership is always free.

‘Taken’ Director Pierre Morel Promises Nick Jonas will feature as Modern MacGyver in “The Blacksmith”


Pierre Morel who is known for his impressive work directing “Taken” has started work on another action thriller movie, “The Blacksmith”. He is working alongside AGC Studios to create the actioner and the movie is set to feature actor/singer Nick Jonas as the lead character. In Morel’s words, Nick Jonas will feature as a “Very modern and updated” MacGyver.

The film which is scheduled to start production in September will see Jonas portray Wes Loomis in the movie. Wes Loomis is a weapons expert and is the go-to man for the intelligence community. However, a series of bad events forces him to go into hiding. Acquiring the help of Noelle Hazlitt, a young CIA analyst, Wes then seeks out his mentor, Mather, who is a retired blacksmith in the hopes of finding answers to the bad events that happened to him. 

On why he is excited about directing the film, Morel explained, “I’m a James Bond fan and my big question as a kid was, what would it be like if Q had to do the mission himself? Since our hero in ‘The Blacksmith’ is a modern Q, I was blown away. This (is a) guy who can invent stuff and make up every device you can imagine…but is not a hero and isn’t supposed to be in the field. All of a sudden, he is thrown into mayhem and has to deal with the situation, [but] with all this knowledge and not with his muscles. That was key to my interest.” He also said “The Blacksmith” will rely more on CGI effects than his previous feature films saying, “It is in today’s world, but using devices that don’t exist. The idea is to make the scope bigger than I usually do, which will allow for bigger effects, destruction and devastation.”

Morel has directed some impressive action thrillers which gave him the required power to land the job. He has to his directing credits “Taken” which featured Liam Neeson, “The Gunman” with Idris Elba starring as the leads character and Jennifer Garner’s Peppermint to mention but a few.

“The Blacksmith” which will be financed and produced by AGC studios will have its production in Toronto. While some of the roles are yet to be cast, Mather is set to be played by Laurence Fishburne. 

 

2021 Oscars Postponed by two months due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world adjusting to the Coronavirus pandemic with various events being canceled and the deployment of several health guidelines, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its 93rd Academy Awards event has been postponed.

The announcement came last week the 2021 Oscars which was scheduled for Feb. 28 will be delayed by two months and the new date being April 25, 2021. This announcement is in line with Variety’s report in May in which the report said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning on delaying the upcoming event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by Dawn Hudson (CEO) and David Rubin (Academy President), they said: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark a historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema”.

Also, the academy announced that the annual Governors Awards gala scheduled to take place in November has been postponed with a date later to be announced. Also, the opening of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building in  Los Angeles, California has been pushed back to April next year.

Alongside postponing the date of their major events, the organization also updated its eligibility rules for the 2021 Oscars Academy Awards. In the new rules, feature films that want to be nominated for an award must have a release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb 28. 2021. The new submission deadline for specialty categories has been pushed to Dec. 30, 2020, while submission deadline for general categories (such as Best Picture, Original song, Best Actor and Actress, etc.) is now Jan. 15, 2021.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of changes in the entertainment industry. Many studios have turned to digital distribution platforms for the release of some of their movies due to the shutdown of movie theaters. Some other studios however decided to postponed their upcoming blockbuster movies with dates to be announced when movie cinemas reopen.

There is still no certainty what the future holds for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards telecast but we will definitely keep you updated. 

Los Angeles Sets Strict Rules for TV and Film Production Restart

With many countries now switching from total lockdown to partial lockdown, many activities have now been allowed to resume albeit under strict and extensive regulations.

Film and TV Productions is one such activity set to resume again in some states as early as Friday although with extensive regulations issued by Los Angeles Country. This new extensive regulation is not much of a surprise considering professional football has also restarted behind closed doors.

While productions are allowed to restart Friday, 19th of July, many producers would probably only start filming around July or August.

As would be expected, the first major rule is for cast and crew to maintain social distancing while on sets. The county also sets the use of face masks and coverings as an important detail not to be overlooked by cast and crew members as actors and musicians who cannot perform with face-covering on are expected to be eight feet apart. Furthermore, it mandates that only essential cast crew be present on set at any given time with the directive that actors must wash their hands before shooting any scene.

Also, it discourages all prolonged physical contact that arises from sex and fight scenes and mandates that all actors and crew keep information about any film shooting from the public. The country also directs that all crowd scenes are discouraged.

The rules also direct that makeup artist are only allowed on set when the actors cannot apply makeup to fit the scene. Also, Craft service buffets are temporarily forbidden on all sets.

Talk Shows and Sitcoms also looking to film new scenes in Los Angeles that must follow new rules. The rules now mandate that audience members must sit six feet apart and must not occupy more than 25% of the available space. It also allows paid staff and crew to serve as audience members. And capping it all, the rules set that only the same group of the audience present at the restart of filming are allowed for subsequent productions.

Although the entertainment industry released some rules for crews and cast to follow when production restarts, the rules released by the county are more strict. This is because the entertainment industry task force didn’t mandate many of their rules like the county did.

Following the release of the entertainment industry’s rules and guidelines, Donna Langley – Chairman Universal Film, stated in a statement that the rules, in his words, are “a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County”.

In his statement, the chairman expressed gratitude to the County Board of Supervisors as well as the county’s mayor for their commitment to the region’s economic recovery. He also expressed gratitude to the County’s Public Health Department for their efforts to keep their region safe. He then went ahead to say “Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown and will continue to show innovation and creativity in bringing film, TV and digital production safely back to Los Angeles”.

Though production restart is imminent, there are still several things that will come into play which might delay restart to mid or late August. One of the obstacles production restart faces includes the detailed protocols all guilds and unions are yet to agree to.

Another major obstacle many productions will face pending the restart is whether or not they will be able to obtain insurance. Bob Jellen, the managing director for entertainment at HUB international believes many productions that were underway before the lockdown would be spared from “additional costs that are required to make filming safer for the actors and crew”. In other words, this obstacle is only for new productions that have not yet started filming before COVID-19 lockdown that caused productions to stop. Obtaining insurance is even going to be more difficult for independent filmmakers.

Many in the film making industry have expressed concerns about the difficulty many new productions will face when trying to secure insurance. To this end, Congress has introduced a bill that gives insurance companies the power to sell policies covering the coronavirus shutdown. The bill, however, is yet to pass.

AMERICAN WISPER: THE FILM HOLLYWOOD HOPED WOULD NEVER GET MADE

AMERICAN WISPER:
THE FILM HOLLYWOOD HOPED WOULD NEVER GET MADE
NOW STREAMING AFTER NINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WINS

  ‘American Wisper’ is the true story of the unsolved
murders of an African American family.
In the summer of 2016, three children and their mother were found
shot to death in their large, N.J. suburban home.
They were discovered by father and husband Josiah Wisper

 

– A brash businessman who owned bars, restaurants, stores and real estate in Harlem, New York. Wisper quickly became a pariah in the Harlem community – and was viewed with suspicion by friends, relatives, and people he had known for nearly half his life.
The film is based on true events, and based on withheld police reports issued at the time of the murders.
And, according to producer Howard Nash, the ending will leave you speechless.


The producers want it known that they are seeking to have the original case re-opened, and feel that a film in wide release is the only way to make that happen.
But, a clarion “Call to Action” isn’t as easy as it sounds: according to writer/producer Howard Nash, “I’ve noticed a fair amount of bias when it comes to smaller, independent films with African American leads.


The smaller movie sites and platforms are not even selecting them. So it becomes even more important to get the word out, so that people can see things for themselves.” Nash raised his funding independently, and today remains gratified that he ignored Hollywood’s “professional” advice while he was developing the project.
Indeed, Nash says American Wisper is the movie that Hollywood hoped would never get made. When presenting the project to major studios, he was repeatedly told that “no one will ever come and see it”.. and one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood once told Nash to “make the family white”, as doing so would make the project “a lot more marketable”. It has now played at festivals all over the world, won nine International Film Festival awards, and is currently nominated for seven more. But, more importantly, it continues to expand its audience, having clocked more than 57,000 views on Amazon since its release in March.

“Wisper.. a very tight thriller without clear heroes or victims—thanks to a tight directorial effort, a tense
script and strong performances by all involved.. it’s a genre movie that shouldn’t be missed.”
Mike Haberfelner / SMT News & Reviews

Now streaming:
Amazon Prime: bit.ly/american-wisper

Watch for Free: https://tubitv.com/movies/520032/american_wisper
Visit on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wisperproject/

NETFLIX Q1 PREVIEW: ANOTHER BLOCKBUSTER QUARTER DESPITE PRICE HIKES?

Netflix Q1 Preview: Another Blockbuster Quarter Despite Price Hikes?

When Netflix reports first-quarter 2018 earnings Monday after market close, investors again will laser in not on revenue or profits — but on the number of net adds, a key indicator of the subscription streamer’s momentum.For Q1, Wall Street analyst consensus estimates are for 1.48 million net streaming U.S. subscriber adds, and 4.84 million internationally. That’s roughly in line with what Netflix’s forecast in January (1.45 million domestically and 4.90 million internationally).

The expected strong showing comes after Netflix raised the price of its streaming plans in the fourth quarter of 2017 for customers in multiple territories, a demonstration of its relative pricing power. In the U.S., for example, the standard two-stream HD plan rose from $9.99 to $10.99 per month,  still a great value, analysts observed.

“A steady stream of new content introduced throughout Q1 likely mitigated churn associated with higher pricing on standard and premium plans,” Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter wrote in a note issued last week.

Analyst consensus estimates for Netflix Q1 see revenue of $3.89 billion and earnings per share of 64 cents. Investors remain upbeat on the company, even as it doubles down on its heavy content-spending strategy (with content expenditures of up to $8 billion this year, vs. $6 billion in 2017).

Netflix’s cash burn (negative free cash flow) is expected to increase from $2 billion in 2017 to $3 billion for the full year 2018, Goldman Sachs’ Heath Terry wrote in a note last week. Terry raised his price target on the stock, from $315 to $360 per share, citing a strong originals slate, new distribution partners  and returns from increased marketing spending.

Over the past eight quarters, Netflix has on average topped its total net subscriber addition guidance by around 950,000, mostly on stronger-than-expected international additions, Pachter noted. However, a year ago, Netflix turned in subscriber metrics slightly below forecasts, delivering 4.95 million inQ1 2017

Is Netflix poised for a Q1 2018 beat? Thanks to its continued growth — and bullish analyst forecasts — Netflix’s stock is up 62% year to date, besting nearly every other company on the S&P 500 and outperforming the other stocks in the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet/Google) cohort tracked by Wall Street.

Netflix has “an increasingly robust content slate,” Cowen & Co.’s John Blackledge wrote in a Q1 earnings preview. He estimated Netflix released some 483 hours of U.S. original programming in the first quarter, up 85% from a year earlier.

In the first quarter, Netflix debuted 18 new original series, including 11 returning series, and 14 new original movies. Those included season 2 of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and sci-fi series “Altered Carbon.”

But Netflix currently has a weaker originals lineup going into Q1, with nine original series (five returning and four new series), including “Lost in Space” and second seasons of “Dope,” “3%,” and “Marvel’s Luke Cage.”

Wall Street expects 5.2 million net streaming adds in Q2 2018, but that “may be on the high side,” RBC Capital Market’s Mark Mahaney wrote in a note. He cited “what doesn’t clearly appear to be a rock-star spectacular Q2 new content slate” as well as typically weak Q2 seasonality and “tough comps” with Netflix’s huge beat in the second quarter of 2017.

Two wildcards on Netflix’s Q2 content performance remain, according to UBS’s Eric Sheridan: When season 2 of popular teen drama “13 Reasons Why” will be released and whether Netflix “is enjoying success in its local-language content initiatives outside of North America,” he wrote in an April 11 note.

In addition, Netflix’s newly expanded deal with Comcast — under which the cable operator will bundle Netflix service with new and existing TV packages — could give Netflix a boost in Q2, which is historically weak for subscriber additions.

Meanwhile, Wedbush’s Pachter pointed to Netflix’s potential longer-term risk from losing content-licensing deals. It’s worth noting that the bulk of the viewing on the platform remains generated by licensed TV shows and movies — with licensed content estimated to account for 80% of Netflix’s U.S. streams for the 12 months ended September 2017, per a study by 7Park Data.

“[T]he combination of less content from Disney (pulling the majority of its newer content at the end of 2018) and a steady migration of Comcast, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox content towards exclusive deals with Hulu will ultimately lead to lower subscriber satisfaction,” he wrote.

VITTORIO TAVIANI, AWARD-WINNING ITALIAN DIRECTOR, DIES AT 88

Vittorio Taviani, Award-Winning Italian Director, Dies at 88

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock (4443677r)
Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
‘Maraviglioso Boccaccio’ film photocall, Rome, Italy – 20 Feb 2015

Italian director Vittorio Taviani, of the multiple award-winning Taviani brothers, has died at 88.

His daughter Giovanna told media he died in Rome after a long illness.

Vittorio was the older of the prolific Taviani brothers who emerged in the 1970’s as the revered filmmaking duo whose works blended neo-realism with more modern storytelling in works such as Padre Padrone which won the 1977 Cannes Palme d’Or, World War II drama “The Night of the Shooting Stars” (1982) and “Kaos” (1984) which is based on Pirandello.

Born in the Tuscan town of San Miniato, Vittorio and Paolo Taviani soon moved to nearby Pisa where as high-school students they became aspiring directors. “We walked into a movie theater called Cinema Italia, which no longer exists, and there was a film playing called ‘Paisà’ that we had never heard of”. That experience “really blew our minds,” they said.  “We had experienced the war as kids, and very deeply. But what we were seeing on screen made that reality so much clearer for us. This movie was telling us things about ourselves that we did not know. So we said to ourselves: ‘If cinema has this strength, this power to reveal to ourselves our own truths, then we will make movies!’

Years later, when they went to Cannes with “Padre Padrone,” the thought that they had started making movies thanks to Rossellini and that he was awarding them the Palme d’Or was for them “like the closure of a splendid luminous circle.”

More recently the Taviani brothers won the Berlin Golden Bear, in 2012, with “Caesar Must Die,” which is about high-security inmates acting Shakespeare, followed by “Wondrous Boccaccio,” (2014) an adaptation of “The Decameron” and “Una Questione Privata” in 2017, based on a novella by Italian author Beppe Fenoglio.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella in a statement said the country is in mourning and called Vittorio Taviani “a beloved protagonist of Italian cinema and culture.”

“Yesterday Milos Forman, today Vittorio Taviani,” tweeted Venice Film Festival chief Alberto Barbara. “We owe them a great deal of our cinematic formation…and will remember them always with gratitude.”

The Tavianis received a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement from Venice in 1986.

Giovanna Taviani said her father’s body would be cremated and there will be no public funeral.

R. LEE ERMEY, ‘FULL METAL JACKET’ GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEE, DIES AT 74

R. Lee Ermey, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ Golden Globe Nominee, Dies at 74

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1635983a)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, R Lee Ermey
Film and Television

R. Lee Ermey, best known for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket,” has died. He was 74.

Ermey’s longtime manager announced the news via a tweet to Ermey’s official Twitter account.

“It is with great sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (‘The Gunny’) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us,” the tweet reads.

In addition to his role in Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-nominated film, which earned him a best supporting actor Golden Globe nod, Ermey had several other mostly authority figure roles to his credit, including Sheriff Hoyt in 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a police captain in “Se7en,” and the voice of the plastic army men’s

Ermey was a former United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and honorary gunnery sergeant, and served as a drill instructor during his tenure from 1961-1972. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year until 1968, when he was moved to Vietnam and spent 14 months in country.

His first film role occurred when he was studying in the Philippines, and he played a First Air Cavalry chopper pilot in “Apocalypse Now,” also serving as a technical adviser to Francis Ford Coppola. He had a series of other small roles until his casting in 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.”

Ermey was originally meant to function only as a technical adviser to Kubrick, but when Kubrick was impressed by an instructional tape Ermey put together in which he went on long rants at extras, he instead cast him in the role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Kubrick allowed Ermey to improvise and write or edit his dialogue, and he said Ermey often only needed two or three takes to finish a scene — both unusual for Kubrick films.

All told, Ermey had roles in some 60-plus films, as well as several voice credits, including “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Simpsons,” and “Family Guy.”

On top of his voice acting, he hosted two programs for the History Channel: “Mail Call,” in which he provided expertise on military issues, both modern and historic, and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey,” which focused on the development of different types of weapons.

R. Lee Ermey

@RLeeErmey

Statement from R. Lee Ermey’s longtime manager, Bill Rogin:

It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (“The Gunny”) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.

‘RAMPAGE’ SNEAKS UP ON ‘A QUIET PLACE’ TO WIN WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

‘Rampage’ Sneaks Up on ‘A Quiet Place’ to Win Weekend Box Office

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (9627975a)
Dwayne Johnson
“Rampage” Film – 2018

After a weekend of fluctuating projections, Dwayne Johnson (just barely) owned the North American box office after all.

Though earlier estimates looked like the second frame of  A Quiet Place would take the weekend, Johnson’s Rampage  snuck up to take the top slot with $34.5 million from 4,101 theaters.

New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.Rampage opened under initial predictions  that estimated between $37 million to $40 million. Though the sci-fi actioner has an impressive A- CinemaScore and 80% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes, “Rampage” will need to rely heavily on overseas to carry its costly $120 million budget.

Still, its opening was enough to just narrowly take the box office crown from A Quit Place” which earned $32.9 million in 3,589 locations. “A Quiet Place” has been riding high with rave reviews only dropping 34%. That brings its cumulative domestic gross to an impressive $100 million.

Also benefitting from the Friday the 13th weekend was Universal and Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare starring Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey. The supernatural thriller debuted in third place with $19 million from 3,029 theaters.

“This is an outstanding debut considering the competitive landscape,” Jim Orr, head of domestic distribution at Universal, said. “For original horror, Blumhouse has define the genre for many years. They built a model that is just terrific.”

The third frame of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” made $11 million from 3,661 locations, lifting its domestic gross to $114.5 million.

Rounding out the top five is the sophomore weekend of Universal’s “Blockers.” Kay Cannon’s raunchy comedy starring John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz took in $10 million from 3,418 locations. In total, the pic has made $37 million.

The wide release of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” made $5 million from 1,939 locations. The stop-motion animated film, which has grossed $18.5 million, opened in limited release at the end of March with the best per screen average of 2018 to date.

Another newcomer, Entertainment Studios’ canine-themed “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” made $1.1 million in 1,633 locations. Directed and co-written by Richard Lanni, “Sgt. Stubby”  features the voices of Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu.

The 2018 box office is down 2.4% compared to 2017. The same weekend last year, where “The Fate of the Furious” opened with $98.8 million, is down 15.5%

MILOS FORMAN, OSCAR-WINNING DIRECTOR OF ‘ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST,’ DIES AT 86

Milos Forman, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Dies at 86

ARCHIV -Archivbild (31. Januar 1997) zeigt den Hollywood-Erfolgsregisseur Milos Forman. Forman wird am kommenden Dienstag 18. Februar 1997 65 Jahre alt. Sein Film ‘Einer flog ueber das Kuckucksnest’ erhielt fuenf Oskars. Acht Oskars heimste 1984 das Musiker-Drama ‘Amadeus’ ein. (AP Photo/Archiv/Brian Diggs)

Czech-born director Milos Forman who won best directing Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Amadeus has died. He was 86.

Forman died Friday in the U.S. after a brief illness, his wife, Martina, told the Czech news agency CTK. She said that “his departure was calm, and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends.”

Forman was also known for directing “Hair,” “Ragtime” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”

Directors’  Guild president Thomas Schlamme said, “Miloš was truly one of ours. A filmmaker, artist, and champion of artists’ rights. His contribution to the craft of directing has been an undeniable source of inspiration for generations of filmmakers. His directorial vision deftly brought together provocative subject matter, stellar performances and haunting images to tell the stories of the universal struggle for free expression and self-determination that informed so much of his work and his life.“A member of the DGA’s National Board and a recipient of the DGA’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Miloš actively championed artist’s rights throughout his career, speaking multiple times before Congress and world audiences about the importance of creative rights and artists’ protections against the violation of those rights. He stood up on behalf of his beloved fellow filmmakers time and again, and he believed with all his heart that creativity and artistic freedom could make a difference in the world. Now it’s up to us to prove him right. We will miss him.”

Having made just one American film at the time, the ironic comedy “Taking Off” (1971), which won critical acclaim but failed to connect with audiences, Forman seemed an unlikely choice to direct the adaptation of Ken Kesey’s countercultural novel “Cuckoo’s Nest.” But he brought a balance and objectivity to the film, which could easily have descended into histrionics. The critically lauded and immensely popular film starring the fast-rising Jack Nicholson struck a nerve in 1975, and on Academy Awards night it became the first film since 1934’s “It Happened One Night” to sweep the top five Oscar prizes: best picture, director, actress, actor and screenplay (adapted).

To shoot Amadeus,  Forman returned to his native Czechoslovakia in 1983 and used little-known theater actors to play Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Thomas Hulce) and his rival Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), Forman created a compelling and cogent adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s award-winning stage play — helped in great measure by the magnificent Mozartian score. Again, Forman ruled the Oscars, taking another director trophy as the film also drew awards for picture, actor (Abraham), and screenplay, winning eight awards in all. The film was also his most financially successful after “Cuckoo’s Nest.”

With a style that film historian David Thomson said stressed the everyday over the melodramatic and a flair for improvisation, Forman had flourished as a young director in Czechoslovakia with such satirical films as 1966’s “Loves of a Blonde” and 1968’s “The Firemen’s Ball,” the latter of which was refused a showing in his native country because of its satire of bureaucratic thinking.

Forman was in Paris in August 1968 when Russian tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, ending the Warsaw Pact country’s brief artistic renaissance. Soon thereafter he moved to New York, joining another celebrated Czech director, Ivan Passer, who had penned “Loves of a Blonde” with Forman and others. Forman’s first U.S. film, “Taking Off,” was similar in approach and style to his earlier work, and while it was praised by critics, it did little to establish him as an American director. He also took on “The Decathlon” episode of “Visions of Eight,” a compilation documentary of the Olympics by an octet of different helmers.

Over the years Forman directed few films, and his American track record was mixed. Though “Cuckoo’s Nest” transformed him into an A-list director, he waited four years before his next film, tackling another challenging piece of material, “Hair,” based on the ’60s smash hit musical. But 10 years later, the episodic piece seemed passe onscreen, and Forman’s simple approach was ill-suited for the musical material. He did better with 1981’s “Ragtime,” a mostly successful adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s bestseller centered on intersecting lives in the early 20th century. The film did not score at the box office, however.

He attained commercial and critical success once more with “Amadeus” but never quite scaled those heights again.

Forman appeared next in 1989 with “Valmont,” an adaptation he co-penned of the French period novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses” starring Colin Firth and Annette Bening. While graceful and witty, the film suffered from comparison to the more melodramatic “Dangerous Liaisons,” released the previous year and starring John Malkovich and Glenn Close.

He didn’t direct again until he issued two other satirical pieces in the late ’90s, the first of which was “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” a well-reviewed comedy about the First Amendment controversy stirred up by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, embodied in the film by Woody Harrelson. While reviews were strong, the film did only moderately well at the box office. But it brought Forman another director nomination in 1996.

The reception to his 1999 film “Man on the Moon,” about the offbeat comic Andy Kaufman, was mixed, though lead Jim Carrey pulled in great notices.

After an absence of seven years, Forman returned in 2006 with “Goya’s Ghosts,” in which he sought to wed the Inquisition, the life of the painter Goya and the Napoleonic Wars, starring Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard and Randy Quaid.

In 2009 Forman directed, with his son Petr, the Czech-language “A Walk Worthwhile,” a remake of his earlier 1966 work for Czech television.

Forman collaborated with Vaclav Havel on the adaptation of a novel about the Munich Agreement, through which Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia’s Sudentenland in 1938, but the project did not come to fruition. He also had in development as a directing project the story of Charles Ponzi, the early 20th century fraudster who lends his name to the Ponzi scheme.

In addition to his directing chores, Forman was co-director of the film program at Columbia U. and appeared as an actor in such films as “Keeping the Faith,” “Heartburn” and “New Year’s Day.”

Born in the town of Caslav (also spelled Kaslov), near Prague, Jan Tomas Forman was raised by an uncle and in foster homes following the death of his parents in WWII concentration camps. After graduating from the Prague Film Faculty of the Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1957, he wrote sketches for the mixed media Laterna Magika, which was celebrated at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. After departing the group in 1961, he was hired by the Czech state film studio, where he came to attention with two medium-length films, 1961’s “The Talent Competition” and “If There Were No Music.” His feature debut in 1963, “Black Peter,” won the top prize at the Locarno Film Festival and led to such internationally acclaimed efforts as “Loves of a Blonde” and “The Fireman’s Ball.”

Forman was jury president at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 and the Venice Film Festival in 2000.

In Czechoslovakia Forman was married twice, first to actress Jana Brejchova (sister of his lead actress in “Loves of a Blonde”) and then to Vera Kresadlova, who was the mother of his twin sons Peter and Matej. In 1998 he had another set of twins, Andrew and James, by his third wife, Martina Zborilova.