x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Film news in brief

Inception clings on the the box-office number one spot in the US, Liam Neeson will no longer play Lincoln, and more.

The mind-bending action movie Inception has clung to the top spot of the US box office for a third week running, proving that summer audiences can have an appetite for complex and original blockbusters. The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has now earned more than $193.3m (Dh710m) in the US and $363.3m worldwide, easily clearing its reported production budget of $160m. Last weekend it knocked the newly released Steve Carell comedy Dinner for Schmucks into second place and the Angelina Joile espionage thriller Salt into third.

The Irish actor Liam Neeson will no longer play the assassinated US president Abraham Lincoln in a long-gestating biopic. The film was set to reunite Neeson with the director Steven Speilberg, with whom he worked on Schindler's List, but the actor has ruled himself out of the project, telling GMTV "I'm past my sell-by date". The actor, who recently played The A-Team leader John "Hannibal" Smith is 58, while Lincoln died at age 56. Speilberg is currently focusing on The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and is also in pre-production on the First World War drama War Horse.

The entertainment giant Disney has sold film production company Miramax to a group of private equity investors for $660m (Dh2.4bn). The sale thwarted the attempts of the Hollywood heavyweights Harvey and Bob Weinstein to buy back the company which they founded in 1979. Specialising in critically acclaimed low-budget productions, the studio helped to reshape Hollywood with films such as Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and No Country for Old Men, all of which performed well at industry award shows. Disney purchased Miramax in 1993 but has recently scaled the company down, cutting its releases to just three films a year and closing offices.

The next movie from the director of Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire - mountaineering drama 127 Hours - will be released in November, avoiding the usual circuit of film festivals. Danny Boyle's film stars the US actor James Franco as Aron Ralston, a mountaineer who became famous in 2003 when he was forced to amputate his right arm with a knife after it became trapped under a boulder. Details about the movie have been kept under wraps - just three months before its release the film is still without a trailer.

The team behind 2007 comedy-drama Juno could be set to reunite for a new film. The writer Diablo Cody has claimed her next screenplay to go into production will be called Young Adult and there are reports that the Juno director Jason Reitman could be on board to direct. The film is about a woman who decides to stalk her high-school boyfriend - Charlize Theron has been tipped to play the lead. With Cody and Theron both Oscar winners and Reitman twice nominated, any collaborative effort would be a likely bet for awards success.

New offerings from the US filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky and Vincent Gallo will lead the 23 films in competition at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. Quentin Tarantino will head the jury that will pick the winner of the Golden Lion. The festival will open on September 1 with Aronofsky's Black Swan, a psychological thriller about two rival ballerinas starring Natalie Portman. The filmmaker won the festival's top prize in 2008 with The Wrestler. Coppola's Hollywood-set drama Somewhere stars Stephen Dorff as an ageing actor, while Gallo's black and white film Promises Written in Water, tells the story of a girl with a terminal illness.