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‘Killing’, ‘Stories’ get DGA docu noms ‘12 Years a Slave’ open No. 1 in UK

LOS ANGELES, Jan 14, (RTRS): “The Act of Killing,” “Stories We Tell,” “The Square,” “The Crash Reel” and “Cutie and the Boxer” have been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for outstanding directorial achievement in documentaries, the DGA announced on Monday. Joshua Oppenheimer was nominated for “The Act of Killing,” Sarah Polley for “Stories We Tell,” Jehane Noujaim for “The Square,” Lucy Walker for “The Crash Reel” and Zachary Heinzerling for “Cutie and the Boxer.” The five films are among the most honored non-fiction movies of 2013. All are on the shortlist of 15 films still in the running for the documentary Oscar, where they will be competing for five slots against “20 Feet From Stardom,” “Tim’s Vermeer,” “Blackfish” and others. Oppenheimer, Polley, Heinzerling and Walker are all receiving their first DGA nominations; Noujaim has been nominated twice before, and won (with Chris Hegedus) for “” in 2001.

In a varied year for documentaries, the DGA found a measure of common ground by picking films that are among the consensus choices for the best of the year. Before the Directors Guild announcement, the 21 nominations for the Directors Guild, Producers Guild, Writers Guild, IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Honors had been spread among 16 different films. “The Act of Killing” was named top doc at the Cinema Eye Honors, while “The Square” won at the International Documentary Association’s IDA Awards.
The Directors Guild winner will be announced at the DGA Awards on Jan 25 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

The nominations:
* Zachary Heinzerling, “Cutie and the Boxer”, Radius TWC, Ex Lion Tamer, Cine Mosaic.
This is Mr Heinzerling’s first DGA Award nomination.
* Jehane Noujaim, “The Square”, Netflix, Participant Media, Noujaim Films, Maktube Productions, WorldView, Roast Beef Productions.
This is Ms Noujaim’s third DGA Award nomination. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for in 2001 (together with Chris Hegedus) and was also nominated in this category in 2004 for Control Room.
* Joshua Oppenheimer, “The Act of Killing”, Final Cut for Real APS, Drafthouse Films, Piraya Films, Novaya Zemlya Ltd, Spring Films Ltd.
This is Mr Oppenheimer’s first DGA Award nomination.
* Sarah Polley, “Stories We Tell”, Roadside Attractions, The National Film Board of Canada.
This is Ms Polley’s first DGA Award nomination.
* Lucy Walker, “The Crash Reel”, HBO Documentary Films, KP Rides Again, LLC, Impact Partners Tree Tree Tree Production,
This is Ms Walker’s first DGA Award nomination.

Slavery saga “12 Years a Slave” opened at No. in the United Kingdom this weekend, in the Oscar frontrunner’s first major overseas test.
“12 Years a Slave” took in $4.2 million from 208 screens, an encouraging number for Liongate, which is distrubuting in nearly every foreign territory. It’s currently playing in 16 international markets and has taken in $5 million, with most of its significant openings yet to come.
Elsewhere, “Despicable Me 2” opened No. 1 in China with $13.8 million and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” crossed the $800 million mark at the global box office.
The R-rated “12 Years a Slave” is directed by Steve McQueen stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. It has grossed nearly $39 million in the US, where Fox Searchlight is distributing.
The opening of Universal’s 3D animated kids film “Despicable Me 2” is the third-best for an animated film in China ever, behind only “Ice Age: Continental Drift” ($19.4 million) and “Kung Fu Panda” ($16.2 million).

That’s particularly impressive, because it comes seven months after its global theatrical release and the original film, 201s “Despicable Me,” was never released in China. To counter the long gap, Universal mounted a promotional campaign around the film which included digital ads that put the minions at well-known Chinese landmarks (photo left). It played in roughly 3,000 locations, including all of the nation’s 141 Imax screens.
The strong showing upped its international total to $567 million, and it passed “Finding Nemo” and “The Lion King” to become the fourth-highest animated film of all time internationally. Combined with the US gross of $368 million, the worldwide total for the Illumination Entertainment production is $935 million.
Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation 0f Smaug,” meanwhile, crossed the $800 million mark at the global box office. Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth saga added $22 million from 62 overseas markets this weekend and has now taken in $566 million abroad. Combined with its $242 million domestic total, “Smaug” is up to $808 million globally after five weeks in release.


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