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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Zhuo Tan in Chinese Box Office Smash

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    Zhuo Tan, an alum of New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film Workshop, recently co-starred in the Chinese film, Dying to Survive. The comedy-drama is making headlines across China and the global filmmaking industry as one of the most successful films in the history of Chinese cinema.

    In May 2015, Zhuo Tan attended the New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Acting for Film workshop in Los Angeles, California. Dying to Survive isn’t Tan’s first role in a prominent film — she has also starred in the well-received films Wrath of Silence and Hello! Mr. Tree. She also appeared in Spring Fever, which won awards both at the Golden Horse and Cannes Film Festivals.

    In Dying to Survive, Tan plays a single mother. The comedy-drama is based on a true story, about a leukemia patient named Lu Yong who smuggled illegal medicine into China to help over a thousand other cancer patients. The film was directed by Wen Muye, who co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jianü and Zhong Wei. It was produced by Ning Hao and the movie’s star, Xu Zheng. Also starring in Dying to Survive are Zhou Yiwei, Wang Chuanjun, and Zhang Yu.

    Dying to Survive was an immediate hit with audiences, grossing nearly $50 million on its opening day alone, including preview screenings. In its opening weekend, it nearly quadrupled its take with just shy of $200 million in receipts, the fourth biggest opening weekend in China ever. As of this writing, its box office intake is $367 million, numbers tough for any film — even in Hollywood — to amass.

    The film has also been received well critically, with one reviewer saying it “might be China’s best movie of the year,” and who also credits Dying to Survive for “tackling difficult social issues.” This latter trend is growing — and paying off — for Chinese cinema, which has been around nearly as long as the medium of film itself, but of late has been coming into its own as part of both the global market and cultural landscape.

    China’s influence and importance to the cinematic arts is exactly why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has established a presence there, having offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. This summer, NYFA is hosting two workshops in the capital city. A 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop is currently in session this July, and another 1-Week Workshop will commence later in the summer.

    The Beijing workshops not only provide state-of-the-art equipment and instruction from experienced, working filmmakers from around the world, but allow students from many diverse backgrounds to work together to craft their art. With the backdrop of the rich cultural heritage offered by Beijing, these students can learn the techniques of filmmaking in a collaborative environment, and share and gain new perspectives from one another to tell their own stories.

    The Beijing workshops can also serve as stepping stones for these students in their journey as filmmakers, including to longer, more intensive programs at New York Film Academy’s other campuses, including Los Angeles. At the Los Angeles campus, where Zhuo Tan studied acting, students receive their education in the heart of Hollywood and can even hone their craft on the world-famous Universal Studios backlot.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates alumna Zhuo Tan on her latest role and looks forward to seeing her future successes! If you are interested in attending the New York Film Academy, you can find more information here.

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    July 19, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2660

  • Al Pacino and ‘Insurgent’ Win Box-Office

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    pacinoInsurgent, the second entry in the Divergent series, topped last weekend’s box office, earning over $54 million in its debut release. Starring Shailene Woodley, the films are adaptations of the popular YA dystopian series, similar to The Hunger Games’ cross-media success. Earning approximately half its budget in its first weekend, Insurgent is on track to make back its money and then some, although its opening hasn’t grown much from Divergent’s initial numbers, suggesting the audience hasn’t expanded as much as its studio would like.

    Cinderella, Disney’s live-action princess epic, performed well with $34 million in its second week, surpassing its $95 million budget with a total $122 million gross. Less successful was The Gunman, a Sean Penn action vehicle many have compared to Liam Neeson’s original foray into the genre. Where Neeson found huge success and a series of sequels and similarly-styled movies, Penn’s film looks dead in the water and may be a failed experiment for the actor. Ironically, the Liam Neeson action film currently out, Run All Night, which has also been underperforming, beat out newcomer The Gunman for the third spot in the weekend’s box office charts.

    While Al Pacino’s indie film Danny Collins hasn’t made nearly as much money as the current box office champs, it has made the most per theater, the metric most independent films in limited release use as a measure of financial success. It edged out Insurgent, earning $73,000 in only five theaters, for an average of $14,640 per theater. Danny Collins is a dramedy about an aging rocker reevaluating his life and family, with an all-star cast including Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, and Melissa Benoist. Al Pacino, who recently spoke at the New York Film Academy about acting and Hollywood, stars as Collins.

    The box-office top ten is listed below:

    Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.52.03 PM

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    March 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3910

  • ’50 Shades of Grey’ Breaks Records at the Box Office, Not with Viewers

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    50-shades-of-grey

    ’50 Shades of Grey’ breaks records at the Box Office. Viewers left not-so-impressed.

    50 Shades of Grey strategically had its official release date set for Valentine’s with Variety announcing the record breaking $94.4 million debut over the 4-days. The reviews, however, were not so generous.

    The verdict? You are either going to be “okay” with it or hate it. Critics and most viewers are leaning towards the latter with IMDb giving it an unimpressive 4/10, based on 61,686 votes. ‘Bubab2’, a reviewer on IMDb, summed it up in one sentence saying the issues included, “the cruddy screenplay, the corny dialogue, the ridiculous script, the highly improbable storyline.”

    There was a great deal of criticism on the much anticipated sex scenes too. Australian news anchor, Lisa Wilkinson, completely ripped into the movie, describing it as “domestic violence dressed up as erotica.” Ouch.

    They weren’t all negative. After much scrolling (lots of scrolling to be precise), we found a positive review, surprisingly, from a male viewer. “The movie becomes an intriguing roller-coaster of emotions, decisions, psychological struggle and compromises for both partners who both love each other and want each other,” says ‘mowglilp’. He was pleasantly surprise.

    Putting aside the downfalls mentioned by reviewers, it leads us to ponder the thought that maybe the book and people’s expectations were inflated prior to watching the film. We should also consider each person who had read the book created his or her own interpretation of the imagery. The scenes play out differently from what he or she created in their mind, consequently creating a huge anticlimax for the viewer (please, excuse the pun).

    It could also be that less effort was interjected into the production process, as film investors already knew they would be bringing in the numbers purely based on the books following. If that was indeed the case, their box-office numbers proved them right.

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    February 18, 2015 • Entertainment Australia, Entertainment News • Views: 3706

  • The Polls Are In: Movies Cost Too Much

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    A movie ticket booth

    A new survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers this week revealed that more than half of those polled don’t go to the movies more often because of rising ticket prices. As usual, the average cost of a movie ticket is at all time high, its nationwide mean coming in at $8.08 per stub (which, to New Yorkers, is still a bargain basement price.)

    Does this factor into the decreasing audience for movie theaters and lower box-office revenue? It’s more than likely, as high ticket prices were the biggest reason given by respondents. PWC asked consumers why they don’t go to the movies more often and offered 18 potential reasons for rejecting the multiplex. Respondents were allowed to choose three—the ten most cited reasons were then published.

    The clear winner was “Ticket prices are too high,” with 53% of respondents listing that as a cause. The second most popular reason speaks to the creative dearth of Hollywood’s excessive reboots and remakes: “Movies are not as interesting as they once were.” Advances in technology and the cultural shift to streaming and DVR gave rise to the third most popular reason: “Prefer movies ‘on my own schedule.’”

    It’s not all economic and technological reasons however—#10 on the poll just proves the universal conceit that sometimes, people are just jerks: Ten percent of respondents complained that “Too many people use photos and tablets in theaters.” This means, however, that the other 90 percent are the inconsiderate majority, checking Instagram and playing Candy Crush in the middle of the movie they just paid too much to see.

    Here’s the top ten reasons and percentage of respondents who chose them:

    1. Ticket prices are too high – 53%
    2. Movies are not as interesting as they once were – 41%
    3. Prefer movies “on my own schedule” – 30%
    4. Prefer to spend money on other activities – 29%
    5. Can see movies at home shortly after theatrical release – 24%
    6. Prefer going out to dinner – 19%
    7. Don’t have as much disposable income as a year ago – 18%
    8. Decline in overall theater experience – 16%
    9. Online content is equally entertaining – 13%
    10. Too many people using phones and tablets in theaters – 10%

    What keeps you from going to the movies more often? Let us know in the comments!

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    January 14, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News • Views: 7309

  • NYFA Professor’s ‘Elena’ in Top 3 for Box Office Per Screen Average

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    Elena
    Elena, directed by New York Film Academy professor, Petra Costa, won big at the box office opening weekend! In fact, it even out earned X-Men: Days of Future Past on per screen average.

    NYFA is proud to have kicked off this incredible success with a SOLD OUT opening night screening that we hosted with Oscar-winner Tim Robbins and Cinema Tropical.

    If you haven’t caught it yet, get to the IFC Center in New York City immediately. Tonight is the final night of the special New York Film Academy discount. Be sure to bring your ID and enjoy!

    ELENA “launched surprisingly well in New York … This start should find niche bookings around the country.” – indieWIRE

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    June 5, 2014 • Community Highlights • Views: 3577

  • Pixar’s Rules for Great Storytelling

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    Pixar Animation

    Thanks to department chair Eric Conner of the screenwriting program for this great tip! A story artist at Pixar Animation Studios had been tweeting a series of “story basics” which illustrates the kind of talent that exists at Pixar. Their overwhelming success is easily demonstrated by the numbers. 7 out of 12 Pixar films were nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars and the company won the Animated Feature Academy Award 6 times. They have 13 consecutive box-office toppers and 2 Best Picture nominations. If that’s not proof of their genius, then we don’t know what is. Steve Jobs purchased the studio in 1986 for $10 million. It was originally a hardware company with only one animator on its staff. Now it’s widely reputed to be one of the best film studios on the planet. Here’s a quote on Deadline from the producer of the latest Pixar hit Brave, which debuted at number 1 at the Box Office this weekend. They attribute their phenomenal success to the basic wisdom that story trumps all.

    It was not easy. The biggest challenges at Pixar are always the stories. We want really original stories that come from the hearts and minds of our filmmakers. We take years in crafting the story and improving it and changing it; throwing things out that aren’t working and adding things that do work. All of that  is just the jumping off point for the technology and how we are going to make this happen.

    Without further ado, here are 22 pointers from Pixar’s story artists for creating a compelling story and building a mega-successful franchise. Don’t forget to learn more about our animation curriculum and become a top-notch animator for Pixar. Click here to request more information on the program!

    1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

    2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

    3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
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    June 25, 2012 • 3D Animation, Film School, Screenwriting • Views: 3476