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by Daniel Loria

A stark, uncompromising crime drama with an ensemble cast of morally ambiguous characters, Triple 9 very much feels like a film from a different era. The film's screenplay first drew attention after its inclusion on the popular Black List, a ranking of the best received unproduced screenplays, back in 2010. It wouldn't be until Australian director John Hillcoat (The Road) became attached, however, that the project began to build momentum. It was clear from the beginning that the production needed a cast as strong as its screenplay, thus beginning a multiyear pre-production saga to pull together an ensemble of actors that could commit to the film's shooting schedule. After multiple false starts, Triple 9 finally entered production anchored by strong performances from Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Winslet. The film draws its title from the police code that indicates "officer down," a last-resort tactic that a renegade group of dirty cops and ex-special ops agents employ in order to create a distraction to pull off one last heist. Boxoffice spoke with director John Hillcoat on the making of the film and its heart-thumping action set pieces. 

Bank robberies are one of those unforgettable vicarious thrills that the cinema affords us. If executed correctly, they're impossible to forget. Classics like Gun Crazy, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and Heat are just a couple that come to mind. How did you want to approach the way you shot your own heists in the film?

I find action very interesting when you try to ground it. That's when you get unpredictability. If you ever talk with guys that have been around those sorts of situations, they'll tell you it's always messy, chaotic, and unpredictable. I spoke with several advisers, people who advised Michael Mann in Heat and contributed to the Bourne Identity series, and I went to YouTube to research live-action actual robberies, police shootings, all that kind of stuff that is now accessible. I also looked at DVDs that I love, like the big shootout in The Getaway-I think Peckinpah was one of the masters of action. [His work] has something that has always stood out for me: focusing on the reactions of everyday people. That's the sort of detail I was going after: bank tellers wetting themselves with fear, that kind of messy realism. We researched as much as we could and were very specific about details like what happens when a body is Tasered. It all had to do with research in both the real world and the cinematic world; I find that's the aesthetic that best keeps you on edge, when it's rooted in reality, as opposed to some recent crime thrillers that are becoming more and more divorced from that reality. It's become overly stylized and cartoonish. I wanted to return to those great films and worlds that I find more interesting, those that have one foot in reality. 


Getting those scenes right is crucial for the film to work; were you pressured by that?

I'm never relaxed, and when you're juggling so many characters there's an additional challenge to it. I did have the benefit of research, as I mentioned, and a lot of the gang unit officers who appear alongside Anthony Mackie in the film are the actual guys from the unit. A lot of the extras that appear as the Latino gang members are actual ex-gang members. We used a lot of SWAT-trained police advisers on set and on camera. Actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor were trained by Navy SEAL guys. We used different advisers for different situations. At the time of shooting I made sure we had enough coverage for when it came time to edit; that was very important.

You put together a great ensemble cast in this film. What was the biggest challenge of bringing such a talented group together?

I've worked with ensembles quite a bit in my time, but this was the biggest and most stressful. It was because of the schedule juggling and less to do with the different personalities. Everyone on board were serious actors genuinely excited about the project, and they fired off one another like in a play where everyone is reacting to each other onstage. There was a communal aspect to it, like a family; everyone raised their game because of that interaction. That's when you know they're not just interested in the spotlight-it doesn't have to be on them the whole time. It was a nightmare when dealing with their schedules, though. These are working actors who are very busy. 

The theme of good versus evil is present throughout the film, and it's never depicted in a black or white manner, especially where religion is concerned.

I tried to find a matter-of-fact authenticity wherever I could, and shooting the film in the South, in Atlanta, I noticed in the gang unit that most of the guys were very religious. When facing such extreme situations, sometimes people lean on certain beliefs that help rationalize that chaos. I was intrigued by that and how there are two sides of the fence; doing things in the name of religion can sometimes be very dangerous. I find that morality, when it comes to extreme action and violence, is never black and white, but religious dogma sometimes does tend to make things black and white. That's why I tried to present, on one level, how these high ethical codes are leaned on to help justify actions, and in the end you can see how damaging and compromised those actions really are. I really wanted to get those layers across. I don't believe that life is black and white, especially when it comes to high stakes and serious moral dilemmas, and when it comes to violence there is no true victor-everyone is tainted by that experience. I wasn't trying to single out anyone in particular-when depicting law enforcement, a lot of them turned to Christianity, and the pecking order of the world's top organized crime association used to be the Italian Mafia, who were Catholic, and today it is the Jewish Russian mob. It's all very well documented, and I didn't want to cast an aspersion on any religion. It's just trying to be truthful to those specific characters

What sort of films have inspired your career as a filmmaker the most?

I've been very influenced by world cinema, but the reason I'm comfortable working in America is my love of genre films. I love the type of films that test characters and the great American genres like westerns and crime films-to me they reached a high point in the '70s when they mixed the skill set of the studio system with the maverick film school students that were influenced by world cinema. It was a hotbed of creativity that has now been going on in TV over the past 10 years or so. For me the '70s were like the renaissance following the golden years of Hollywood that spanned from the 1940s to the '60s. It was definitely the high-water mark. 

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feb021716predictions.jpgFox's Deadpool reigned supreme again on Wednesday with another $3.8 million added to the bank, down 56 percent from the same day last week. That gives the "Merc with a Mouth" a hugely impressive 13-day domestic tally of $250.3 million, pacing 29.5 percent ahead of where Guardians of the Galaxy stood at the same point in release. The film is expected to easily retain first place again during its upcoming third weekend.

Sony and AFFIRM's Risen pulled $0.84 million in its sixth day of play yesterday, bringing the total to $14.9 million thus far. The latest faith-based success continues trending well thanks to healthy word of mouth and is now pacing 3.5 percent ahead of fellow Sony release War Room.

A24's The Witch moved up to third place yesterday with $0.621 million, giving it a solid six-day start of $10.97 million. The well-reviewed -- but divisive -- horror film is pacing 24 percent ahead of You're Next.

How to Be Single added $0.62 million yesterday in fourth place, off 43 percent from last Wednesday. The rom-com's 13-day tally stands at $33.8 million.

Kung Fu Panda 3 re-entered the top five yesterday with $0.524 million, giving it a new domestic total of $118.9 million. The animated sequel continues playing well with families.

Meanwhile, Race fell outside the top five with $0.515 million in its sixth day of play. The Jesse Owens biopic has taken in $9.1 million so far and is currently running 32 percent behind McFarland, USA.

Last but not least, 12-time Oscar nominee The Revenant added $0.38 million (off just 17 percent week-to-week) for an updated domestic haul of $166.3 million. All-time domestic box office champion Star Wars: The Force Awakens tacked on another $0.32 million, off 31 percent from last Wednesday, for a new total of $922.7 million.

 

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PRESS RELEASE

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (February 25, 2016) - Christie®, a leader in creating and delivering the world's best visual and audio experiences, announced that Village Cines Recoleta is Argentina's first cinema to install the innovative Christie Vive AudioTM, the cinema industry's only purpose built line array speaker solution. The Village Cines Recoleta Hall 6 auditorium also includes the groundbreaking Dolby® AtmosTM sound technology to provide the best cinematic experience.

With 20 years' experience in the Argentinean market, Village Cines currently has eight complexes with a total of 79 screens across the country and has recently completed its final phase of its digital roll out with Christie SolariaTM Series projectors. The company has a strong reputation for always being at the forefront in introducing cinema technology innovations in the Argentinean market.

The Christie Vive Audio components installed at Village Recoleta's Hall 6 includes LA3 and S215 screen channel speakers, LA3S speakers for wall surrounds, LA3C speakers for ceiling surrounds, as well as a variety of CDA Class D amplifiers. The end result is highly immersive cinema sound known for delivering exceptional power and performance.

Located in the heart of Buenos Aires' most glamorous district of Recoleta, the Village Recoleta multiplex currently has 10 screens. The 223-seat Hall 6 features a 12.5 x 5.32 meters screen and is the preferred venue for premieres and gala screenings in Argentina's capital. It's also the main auditorium selected to conduct movie screenings and presentations during VISTA, the Regional Convention of the Film Industry in Latin America.

Besides the immersive audio experience brought about by Christie Vive Audio, audiences can enjoy brilliant and high-resolution visuals delivered by the Christie CP2220 DLP® digital cinema projector, which is already deployed in the auditorium. Combined with the newly installed Vive Audio, Village Recoleta's Hall 6 has joined a league of "all Christie" cinemas offering Christie's complete cinema solutions that set new standards and delivers a superior motion picture experience.

"Village Cines is always on the cutting-edge of new cinema technology," said Diego Bachiller, commercial manager at Village Cines. "We want our customers to live a unique experience when visiting our cinemas and we know that Vive Audio maximizes that possibility with its clear and precise sound, being the perfect complement for Dolby Atmos."

"We have already received very positive feedback from our customers about the sound experience in this theater," Bachiller added. "That's why, since the public recognize and value the differentiation that is generated using this technology, we will continue installing Vive Audio in more of our cinemas."

"We are proud that Village Cines selected the Christie Vive Audio solution to help make Village Recoleta a top destination for entertainment, providing movie-goers a real-life audio experience in every seat of the theater," said Patrick Artiaga, director, Business Development, Audio, Christie Digital. "The addition of Christie Vive Audio will create Argentina's most advanced cinema sound experience for Village's enthusiastic audiences."

Juan Carlos Chávez, Director, Christie Latin America, added, "We are honored that Village has chosen Christie Vive Audio to be installed in its iconic multiplex in Buenos Aires. The combination of Christie Vive and Dolby Atmos heralds a new era in superior cinema sound that will give Village Recoleta a true competitive edge in the market, ensuring that their audiences enjoy the ultimate movie-viewing experience."

Christie Vive Audio provides a hyper-accurate audio experience and unlocks the full dynamic range of the DCI digital cinema audio and is compatible with the leading immersive and surround audio formats in the market. The complete solution features screen channels, wall and ceiling surround speakers that use unique ribbon driver technology in a single-enclosure line array design, purpose-built for cinema environments. Christie Vive Audio system continues to establish its reputation worldwide as the next standard in immersive sound for cinema.

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By Daniel Garris

Fox's Deadpool took in $5.16 million on Tuesday to comfortably lead the daily box office for a twelfth consecutive day. The Ryan Reynolds led blockbuster increased 15.5 percent over Monday and decreased a sharp 55 percent from last Tuesday. Deadpool has grossed a massive $246.49 million in twelve days and will surpass the $250 million mark either today or Thursday. The film is running an extremely impressive 46 percent ahead of the $168.97 million twelve-day take of 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past (which had the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions; something that Deadpool doesn't have). Deadpool looks to be in terrific shape to comfortably remain in first place over the upcoming weekend.

Risen held steady in second place with $1.32 million. The faith-based film from Sony's AFFIRM Films label starring Joseph Fiennes was up a healthy 45 percent over Monday. Risen has grossed $14.03 million through five days, which is on the higher end of pre-release expectations. The film is currently running 45.5 percent ahead of the $9.64 million five-day start of fellow AFFIRM Films release When the Game Stands Tall back in 2014. AFFIRM Films releases have a strong history of displaying strong holding power and Risen will hope to do the same going forward.

Warner's How to Be Single was up one spot from Monday to move into third on Tuesday with $0.878 million. The romantic comedy from New Line and MGM featuring Dakota Johnson was up a strong 55 percent over Monday and down a very solid 39 percent from last Tuesday. How to Be Single has grossed $33.19 million in twelve days. That is towards the higher end of expectations and places the film 17 percent ahead of the $28.29 million twelve-day take of 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic.

The Witch was down one spot to claim fourth place with $0.829 million. A24's low-budget R-rated horror film was up 16 percent over Monday's performance. The Witch continues to perform on the high end of expectations (and nicely with its low price tag in mind), with a five-day start of $10.34 million. The film is currently running 24 percent ahead of the $8.34 million five-day take of 2013's You're Next.

Race was up one spot from Monday to round out Tuesday's top five with $0.720 million. Focus' Jesse Owens biopic starring Stephan James was up a very healthy 47 percent over Monday. Race has grossed $8.59 million in five days. The film is performing a bit below its modest expectations and 33 percent softer than the $12.78 million five-day start of McFarland, USA over the same week last year.

Kung Fu Panda 3 was down one spot to land in sixth with $0.720 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation increased 38 percent over Monday and decreased a very sharp 63 percent from last Tuesday. Kung Fu Panda 3 has grossed $118.36 million in 26 days, which places the film 14 percent behind the $138.20 million 26-day take of last year's Hotel Transylvania 2.

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By Daniel Garris

Fox's Deadpool continued to dominate the daily box office on Monday with $4.47 million. The Ryan Reynolds led blockbuster was down 72 percent from Sunday and down 77 percent from last Monday's inflated Presidents Day take. Deadpool has grossed a massive $241.33 million through eleven days of release. That already makes the film the highest grossing X-Men universe film of all time (without taking into account ticket price inflation) and places the film an extremely impressive 46 percent ahead of the $165.18 million eleven-day take of 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past (which had the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions; something that Deadpool doesn't have). Deadpool looks to be in terrific shape to comfortably remain in first place over the upcoming weekend.

Risen took second place for the day with $0.909 million. The faith-based film from Sony's AFFIRM Films label starring Joseph Fiennes declined 73 percent from Sunday's performance. Risen has grossed $12.71 million through four days of release. That is on the higher end of pre-release expectations and places the film a very healthy 42 percent ahead of the $8.94 million four-day start of fellow AFFIRM Films release When the Game Stands Tall back in 2014. AFFIRM Films releases have a history of displaying strong holding power and Risen will hope to do the same going forward.

The Witch placed in third with $0.715 million. A24's low-budget R-rated horror film was down 67 percent from Sunday, which represented the day's strongest daily percentage hold among wide releases. The Witch continues to perform on the high end of expectations (and quite nicely with its low price tag in mind), with a four-day start of $9.52 million. The film is currently running 24 percent ahead of the $7.65 million four-day take of 2013's You're Next.

Warner's How to Be Single claimed fourth place with $0.568 million. The romantic comedy from New Line and MGM featuring Dakota Johnson was down 72 percent from both Sunday and last Monday. The eleven-day total for How to Be Single stands at $32.31 million. That is towards the higher end of expectations and places the film 16 percent ahead of the $27.79 million eleven-day start of 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Kung Fu Panda 3 rounded out Monday's top five with $0.520 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from DreamWorks Animation fell 87 percent from Sunday and an extremely sharp 92 percent from last Monday's holiday performance. Kung Fu Panda 3 has grossed $117.64 million in 25 days, which places the film 14 percent behind the $137.46 million 25-day take of last year's Hotel Transylvania 2.

Race followed closely behind in sixth place with $0.501 million. Focus' Jesse Owens biopic starring Stephan James was down 74 percent from Monday. The four-day total for Race stands at $7.85 million. Race is performing a bit below its modest expectations and 33 percent softer than the $11.74 million four-day start of McFarland, USA over the same week last year.

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