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  • The battle lines are now drawn between AMC Theatres, the nation's largest motion picture theater chain, and MoviePass, a company that offers customers virtually unlimited moviegoing at a fixed price at the majority of the screens in this country, including, for now, AMC. MoviePass has been in operation since 2011 but had failed to gain much traction, until it recently announced a cut in its monthly fee from $50 to $9.95. For that price, a customer can see one movie a day at any one of the participating theaters. Special formats like 3D and IMAX are excluded, but, otherwise, customers can see any movie being shown at a theater, including "no pass" films. MoviePass customers order a ticket while at the theater using a special Smartphone app. The company then downloads the ticket price to a special MoviePass debit card which the customer uses to buy the ticket. MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe acknowledged to Variety that the company will lose money if customers use the service as little as twice a month, but claims the company will be able to make a profit through subsidies from theater chains. AMC apparently disagrees and has threatened legal action against MoviePass, saying the company's pricing plan is not sustainable and that lowering ticket prices to accommodate MoviePass would "negatively impact the customer experience."   

  • Disney is pulling out all the stops in its remakes of some the studio's most beloved animated classics. Following the success, both critically and at the box office, of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, the studio just announced some of the talent for Aladdin, ready to begin filming next month. According to the Hollywood Reporter, leads Aladdin and Jasmine will be played by relative newcomers Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott. But the big name talent in the Guy Ritchie-helmed film will be Will Smith stepping into Robin Williams' shoes as the Genie. Still to be cast is the villainous Jafar, as word is that Disney is looking for an established actor in the role. The Mouse house isn't neglecting its older classics either. Variety reports that the remake of the 1941 Dumbo is now set for a March, 2019, release and will follow a similar casting strategy. Newcomers Nico Parker and Finley will play the leads in the Tim Burton film, while the supporting cast includes familiar names such as Colin Ferrell, Eva Green, Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton.

  • Paramount's Baywatch is the latest disappointing summer release to get a healthy boost from international ticket sales. Despite the star power of Dwayne Johnson, the comedy received scathing critical reviews and only made $57 million domestically, but is on track to nearly double that total overseas. While big budget U.S. action films traditionally play well in foreign markets, few comedies, especially R-rated comedies like Baywatch, outperform the domestic market. According to Deadline: Hollywood, industry observers attribute the success of Baywatch to a number of factors, including the enduring popularity of the original television series and its star David Hasselhoff, especially in Germany and Austria.

  • Advertisers are balking at NBC's plans to charge $5 million for a 30-second ad for the upcoming Super Bowl LII, to be held February 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. According to a report in Variety, Fox wanted to charge $5 million for last year's game but may have wound up settling for less. Ad prices for the 2016 Super Bowl were a "mere" $4.8 million. One thing that no one's balking at are the Super Bowl ratings, which have risen steadily and are now in excess of 110 million people annually.  

  • One action film sizzled while another fizzled at the box office this weekend. The Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson teamup The Hitman's Bodyguard led the way at $21 million, but Steven Soderbergh's caper film Logan Lcuky only managed a third place showing at $8 million. You can read reviews of all the week's top releases at Silver Screen Cinema.
  • The tragic deaths a day apart of actresses Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher brought 2016 to a sad end, but he have excerpts from some of the last interviews both actresses gave. We also have trailers for two new films, Steven Soderbergh's comic heist thriller, Logan Luckyand Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in the buddy action film, The Hitman's Bodyguard.