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Viola Davis describes becoming Rape Foundation advocate

Viola Davis said Sunday that her own experiences with sexual assault led her to become an advocate for the Rape Foundation and encouraged others to visit treatment centers so they'll become supporters.

"You must," she said. "And then let your heart do the rest."

"Myself, my mother, my sisters, my friend Rebecca, my friend from childhood, we all have one thing in common: We are all survivors of sexual assault in some way, shape or form," Davis said Sunday at a benefit for the foundation.

It provides free medical treatment, counseling and legal aid to sexual assault victims at its Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House, which specializes in caring for sexually abused children.

An advocate for the group since playing its founder in a 2010 film, Davis was among the guests of honor at the organization's annual fundraising brunch held at billionaire Ron Burkle's Greenacres estate in Beverly Hills, California

Davis said half of the survivors helped by the Rape Foundation are children, adding that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before age 18.

Her own sister is among the casualties: She was sexually assaulted at age 8 and still struggles today.

"I continue to pray for my sister," said Davis, who has previously spoken publicly about her sister's attack.

The brunch was held in a tented space in Burkle's backyard, where "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman, "Vampire Diaries" actress Nina Dobrev and the supporting cast on Davis' "How to Get Away With Murder" were among the guests in 95-degree heat.

David Schwimmer was the master of ceremonies. The actor-director started working with the Rape Foundation during his "Friends" days and has served on its board of directors for the last 12 years. He said the brunch supports a year's worth of services at the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House.

The Rape Foundation also provides educational programs for first responders and middle- and high-school students.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at .

'Magnificent Seven' rides Denzel's star power to $35M debut

Movie stars don't open movies anymore? Tell that to Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks.

The pair, once co-stars in "Philadelphia," have together dominated the last three weeks of the box office. After Clint Eastwood's Miracle on the Hudson docudrama "Sully," starring Hanks as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, topped ticket sales of the last two weeks, "The Magnificent Seven" rode Washington's star power to an estimated $35 million debut over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Though both Washington and Hanks are in their early 60s, their box-office clout might be just as potent as ever. The debut of "Sully" was Hanks' fourth best opening of his career; the opening of "The Magnificent Seven," Antoine Fuqua's remake of John Sturges' 1960 Western (itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai"), is Washington's third best.

Both films boasted other enticements. Eastwood is himself a draw. And the ensemble of "The Magnificent Seven" most notably includes Chris Pratt, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" star and a potential heir apparent to Washington and Hanks.

But Washington and Hanks ranked as the overwhelming reason audiences went to see either movie, according to comScore's survey of moviegoers.

"They are the model of consistency and they are the model of quality," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "These are guys who can draw a huge audience in any type of movie that they're in. It's not like they're pigeonholed into one kind of franchise. Denzel Washington can be part of a genre, the Western, that doesn't exactly have teenagers scrambling to the movie theater."

Sony Pictures' "The Magnificent Seven" wasn't cheap to make — it cost about $90 million — so its path to profitability isn't assured. Directed by Fuqua (whose "Training Day" and "The Equalizer" also starred Washington), the film made splashy premieres at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

Coming in at a distant second was Warner Bros.' "Storks," an animated release where the large-winged birds have given up the baby delivery business for online sales. The film, which cost about $70 million to make, opened with $21.8 million. Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland, its voice cast is led by Andy Samberg.

The rest of the top 10 was populated by holdovers, with "Sully" slotting in at third with $13.8 million in its third week. It has now grossed $92.4 million domestically. A potentially bigger test of Hanks' drawing power awaits the actor next month with the release of "Inferno," in which he reprises his role as Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown franchise.

"The Magnificent Seven" slots in as one of the biggest openings for a Western ever, though the genre's heyday predated modern wide releases. The only Westerns to debut better, not accounting for inflation, bended the genre in other directions: sci-fi in the case of "Cowboys & Aliens" ($36.4 million in 2011) and animation in "Rango" ($38.1 million, also in 2011).

The Western, like Washington and Hanks, has proven quite durable at the box office in recent years. The Coen brothers' "True Grit" (which grossed $171.2 million in total), Alejandro Inarritu's "The Revenant" ($183.6 million) and a pair of Quintin Tarantino releases ("Django Unchained," with $162.8 million, and "The Hateful Eight," with $54.1 million) have all proven the genre's fortitude.

"When you read this script as well as Antoine's vision of it, you knew it was going to be cool and relevant," said Rory Bruer, distribution head for Sony. "When you talk about genres or things that might not, on the surface, look to be the best play, it's always going to about what's in the story and how that story is told."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "The Magnificent Seven," $35 million ($19.2 million international).

2. "Storks," $21.8 million ($18.3 million international).

3. "Sully," $13.8 million ($6.5 million international).

4. "Bridget Jones's Baby," $4.5 million ($21.9 million international).

5. "Snowden," $4.1 million ($1.7 million international).

6. "Blair Witch," $4 million ($3.5 million international).

7. "Don't Breathe," $3.8 million ($4.3 million international).

8. "Suicide Squad," $3.1 million ($3 million international).

9. "When the Bough Breaks," $2.5 million.

10. "Kubo and the Two Strings," $1.1 million ($1.8 million international).


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Bridget Jones's Baby," $21.9 million.

2. "The Magnificent Seven," $19.2 million.

3. "Storks," $18.3 million.

4. "The Secret Life of Pets," $8.1 million.

5. "Sully," $6.5 million.

6. "A Chinese Odyssey Part Three: The End," $6 million.

7. "Finding Dory," $5.3 million.

8. "S Storm," $5.3 million.

9. "Soulmate," $5.2 million.

10. "Bad Moms," $4.6 million.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

AP Source: Brad Pitt allegations relate to treatment of son

Allegations Brad Pitt was abusive on a private plane last week relate to the actor's treatment of his 15-year-old son, sources said Friday, as the FBI continued to gather information before determining whether to open an investigation.

FBI Spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency hasn't made a decision on a formal investigation into what occurred on a plane ferrying Pitt, his wife Angelina Jolie Pitt and their six children.

Several news outlets have reported that a child welfare agency in Los Angeles is investigating the well-being of the children, who range in ages from 8 to 15.

Sources familiar with the allegations, but not authorized to speak publicly, say the child welfare investigation centers on Pitt's conduct toward his son Maddox, 15, during an argument on the Sept. 14 flight. No law enforcement agency responded to the plane when it landed in Minnesota after the incident.

Amara Suarez, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, said the agency could not confirm whether it was investigating Pitt or the well-being of the former couple's children.

Calls to the offices of Pitt's attorney, Lance Spiegel, and Jolie Pitt's lawyer, Laura Wasser, were forwarded to recorded messages stating their firms do not comment on clients.

Jolie Pitt filed for divorce Monday and her lawyer released a statement the following day saying she came to the decision "for the health of the family." She listed their separation date as Sept. 15, the day after the alleged plane incident, and the actress is seeking sole custody of all six of the children.

Koochiching County, Minnesota, Sheriff Perryn Hedlund told The Associated Press on Thursday that Brad Pitt was on a plane that landed at the International Falls, Minnesota, airport near the Canadian border on Sept. 14.

Hedlund said his sheriff's deputies were not called to the airport, and International Falls police were also not called.

"There's no incident whatsoever reported to law enforcement," Hedlund said.

He said he didn't know why the plane landed in International Falls, but said it's not uncommon for hockey players or other celebrities to stop at the airport.

Pitt and Jolie Pitt — known as "Brangelina" — were together for 12 years but only wed in August 2014. They married privately at their French chateau in the Provence hamlet of Correns with their children serving as ring bearers and throwing flower petals. They announced the ceremony days later.

Their six children include 15-year-old Maddox, 12-year-old Pax, 11-year-old Zahara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and 8-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

This is the second marriage for Pitt, 52, who previously wed Jennifer Aniston. It's the third for Jolie Pitt, 41, who was previously married to Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.


Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed to this report.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at

After 18-years, Moorhouse returns with ripping revenge tale

The comeback tale of "The Dressmaker" director Jocelyn Moorhouse is a Hollywood story in its own right.

Twenty-one years ago, Moorhouse was handed the keys to the kingdom — or at least that's how it felt at the time. The young Australian director had one well-received film under her belt, "Proof," and was producing "Muriel's Wedding" for her husband, director P.J. Hogan, when she got a call from Steven Spielberg. He asked if she wanted to direct the generational drama "How to Make an American Quilt." The answer, of course, was yes.

"It was like the great hand of cinema had reached down and gone 'we'll take you now,'" Moorhouse said.

Suddenly she was rubbing elbows with Anne Bancroft, Maya Angelou and the scores of other fierce female talents of all ages in that lovely ensemble film.

She was still editing "Quilt," and seven months pregnant with her second child, by the time she was meeting with Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange about her next project, the "King Lear"-inspired drama "A Thousand Acres." That went into production soon after.

It was a meteoric rise that few in Hollywood ever get. Then she left it all behind for nearly two decades. Her 2-year-old daughter, Lily, had been diagnosed with autism.

"That changed my life and nothing else mattered," Moorhouse said. "The film industry seemed extremely trivial compared to trying to work out the mysteries of my daughter's brain."

Then, in 2005, just as she was thinking about coming back, her son, Jack, got the same diagnosis and she wasn't sure she'd ever go back to directing. All of her energy, creative and otherwise, and money were focused on the kids.

As the years went by and the kids made strides, she started wondering if she could start up her directing career again. She had continued producing for Hogan and would direct little films for her children too. She also had a fourth child who was not autistic.

And then producer Sue Maslin called. A big fan of "Proof," Maslin wanted to see if Moorhouse would be willing to direct an adaptation of Rosalie Ham's "The Dressmaker ," now playing in limited release, about a woman returning to the small town that wronged her years ago.

"Jocelyn has the rare gift to be able to successfully walk the tightrope between comedy and tragedy on screen and no matter how fantastical, make it truthful at all times," Maslin said.

For Moorhouse, it was like another hand coming down saying "we want you back now." And she was ready.

She likes to describe the story as "'Unforgiven' with a sewing machine."

Moorhouse recruited Kate Winslet for the leading role and Judy Davis to play her estranged mother.

"(Davis and Winslet) both loved that it was very funny and very sad," she said. "I would say 'that's kind of how I see my life. It's a tragicomedy!' Live long enough and most people's lives are."

She also got her "Proof" star Hugo Weaving to play a cop with a secret and cast Liam Hemsworth as a strapping local who becomes smitten with Winslet's Tilly — a relationship with an age difference that she knows makes some men wince.

"Liam didn't. He's like 'uh, she's gorgeous. Of course, my character would go after her. She's the best thing to happen to this town. Why would I not want that woman?' And I said, 'you're absolutely right, young man.'"

"The Dressmaker" breaks all the rules of what one might expect, not least because it's a story told from a female point of view.

"It a very female film and some men might find that alien. As women, we are so used to watching films from a male point of view it's almost like we speak two languages. We're bilingual and we don't even know it. They're not. And that has to change," she said. "Eventually a man will be able to see a woman's film and not call it a woman's film."

Moorhouse lights up speaking about being "back."

"I was born to do this and not able to do it for a while. As soon as I got back into it, every day was a joy on set. I just kept smiling. Even if it was a terrible day, I thought 'my god! Thank god I'm a director again!'

Moorhouse has a handful of independent projects in the works, including a script she just finished about the marriage of composers Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann — and how a 20-year-old Johannes Brahms fell in love with the 37-year-old Clara.

Moorhouse loves highlighting the quiet subversion of these romances, saying she knows a lot of older women and younger men in relationships. Even her grandmother was 10 years older than her grandfather.

"Though if you listen to most blokes, they act horrified," she laughed.

She'd happily work inside the Hollywood system again too, as long as she had creative control.

"I want to be able to keep my voice now that I've found it again," she said. "I'm not going anywhere after this."


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter:

J.K. Rowling: Harambe isn't part of Harry Potter universe

A new feature on Rowling's Pottermore website allows users to find out what Patronus they would use in Harry Potter's world. A Patronus is an animal used to ward off soul-sucking creatures in the series.

Humor site The Chive put a fake picture on Twitter of Harambe the gorilla as a result on the Patronus page. Rowling retweeted the picture. A bit later she posted , "I've been asked to make it clear that Harambe is not a Patronus you can actually get on @pottermore." But she added that she thought the joke was "very funny."

J.K. Rowling: Harambe isn't part of Harry Potter universe

A new feature on Rowling's Pottermore website allows users to find out what Patronus they would use in Harry Potter's world. A Patronus is an animal used to ward off soul-sucking creatures in the series.

Humor site The Chive put a fake picture on Twitter of Harambe the gorilla as a result on the Patronus page. Rowling retweeted the picture. A bit later she posted , "I've been asked to make it clear that Harambe is not a Patronus you can actually get on @pottermore." But she added that she thought the joke was "very funny."

Naked in Charleston: Netflix to film movie in South Carolina

Netflix will film a feature length move entitled "Naked" starring Marlon Wayans and Regina Hall in Charleston.

The internet entertainment company announced the feature is based in a 2000 Swedish moved entitled "Naken" and tells the story of a man who wakes up on his wedding day, naked in an elevator, reliving the hour over and over before the ceremony.

Tom Clark of the South Carolina Film Commission tells The Post and Courier of Charleston ( ) that filming begins next month and should take about six weeks.

The movie will be shown on Netflix next year.

Because Netflix is spending more than $1 million, the production is eligible for state incentives including rebates on wages, South Carolina purchases and exemptions from sales and accommodations taxes.


Information from: The Post and Courier,

Red flags, not red carpet: Local film wins North Korean fest

And the envelope, please!

The Pyongyang International Film Festival wrapped up Friday with top honors going to — wait for it — a domestically produced feature about a young woman who selflessly devotes herself to raising orphans.

The winner of the "Best Torch Award," selected by a panel of international judges, was "Story About My House," a drama about Ri Jong A, who wins the honors of leader Kim Jong Un for devoting herself to raising orphans after graduating from school. The prizes were announced at a lavishly decorated hall in central Pyongyang replete with glittery gowns, golden trophies and colorful stage lighting — but no red carpets.

Like all state-sanctioned art in North Korea, the winning feature, released in September, has an explicitly political message. State media emphasized the heroine's "ennobling mental world" and traits that are "the precious fruition of the validity and vitality of the (ruling) party's idea and line of prioritizing the youth." The North also entered a documentary, "Prosperous Pyongyang," and the animated "Two Boys Who Found an Answer" in the completion part of the festival.

Other films came from Germany, France, Syria, the Philippines — 21 countries in all.

The biennial festival was a smaller affair than in previous years.

Henrik Nydqvist, a filmmaker from Sweden who has attended the festival since 2004, said fewer films were presented — 60 from the 21 countries, compared with about 100 films previously. He said that was likely due to the "difficult political situation" on the Korean Peninsula these days. Tensions have been rising since the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and then tested another this month.

Nydqvist noted that the Russian presence at the festival was more pronounced this year, with the head of the jury being Russian. Chinese participation, meanwhile, was noticeably smaller.

Pyongyang has been trying to improve relations with Moscow, while ties with China — the North's most important trading partner and hitherto closest ally — have cooled.

Nydqvist said 11 films were entered for competition in the festival, which awards prizes for feature films, documentaries and short films. Prizes were also awarded for direction, actor and actress — Paek Sol Mi, the star of the "Story About My House," collected the actress award — cinematography and other divisions.

The previous festival's feature award winner was a German drama.

Nydqvist said that although foreign participation was smaller, the festival provides an opportunity for local audiences to view foreign films they would otherwise not be able to see. Entries from abroad ranged from the Indian movie "Garbbar is Back" to the Chinese film "The White Haired Witch of the Lunar Kingdom."

"The films have been shown in cinemas around the city, and for the more popular films I have heard that there were more people coming than there were seats available for them," he said. "The audiences have been highly enthusiastic and for any filmmaker that is very heartwarming."

Even so, participants said most of the films shown in conjunction with the festival were local movies, and most were not new.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, was a fabled film buff and made a serious effort to build up North Korea's domestic film industry. He got personally involved in the scripts and cinematography and put out a film similar to the Japanese classic "Godzilla." He's widely believed to have had a famous South Korean film director kidnapped so he could transform his country's movie industry.

The number of films produced here appears to have dropped off dramatically since Kim Jong Il's death in late 2011.

Young filmmakers thank the academy at Student Academy Awards

Seventeen young filmmakers from around the world gathered in Beverly Hills, California, to utter the six magic words they've been practicing all their lives: "I'd like to thank the academy."

The film academy presented its 43rd annual Student Academy Awards Thursday night, recognizing narrative, documentary, animated and alternative productions by American and international college students.

Accepting medals from actors Lucy Liu, Joel Edgerton, Daisy Ridley and Parker Sawyers, the winning filmmakers were giddy as they got to thank the academy and actually mean it. The students spent the past week in Los Angeles as academy guests, meeting with studios and networking over fancy dinners.

"This is the most amazing week of my life," said Alex Schaad, of the University of Television and Film Munich, as he received his medal. "This evening, this ceremony, this whole week and this award will change a lot of things, and I will owe you that for the rest of my life."

Rongfei Guo, a Chinese filmmaker studying at New York University, said her parents don't understand the world of independent film, but the academy recognition will let her "prove to my parents that what your daughter's doing is about an Academy Award."

Liu said she was inspired by seeing "so many people who are excited about the future." Edgerton said he's humbled by the next generation of filmmakers.

"They have their eyes on what's really going on," he said. "And they're not thinking about the money, and I love that!"

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose the 17 winning films from a record 1,749 submissions. The winning filmmakers hail from China, Greece, Israel, Germany, Poland, Singapore and the United States. More than half are women.

Yvonne Ng, a student at City College of New York whose film is about the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, found a theme among the chosen works.

"It's no coincidence that tonight all the winners, the majority of our films are all about the past tragedies that happened on humanity," she said as she accepted her medal. "Someone tonight said to me that we represent the future of filmmaking. And I think we also represent the future that's screaming for peace and love, compassion and mutual respect."

Jimmy Keyrouz of Columbia University, whose film about a musician rebuilding his piano after it's destroyed by terrorists, thanked the academy for helping young filmmakers get their work seen.

"Our message is one of hope, and when people are hopeless and desperate, it becomes easier to turn to extremism," he said. "And in a world that is torn by wars and devastation, art is a mighty tool that helps us fight extremism and terrorism, so thank you to the academy for joining our fight. We take so many things for granted, like freedom of speech and expression, and in so many parts of the world, these are luxuries that must be fought for every day."

All of the winning student films are now eligible for Academy Awards. Two student films received nominations last year. Previous Student Academy Award winners include Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Cary Fukunaga, Robert Zemeckis and Pixar's Pete Docter and John Lasseter.


The 2016 Student Academy Award winners:

— "All These Voices," David Henry Gerson, American Film Institute

— "Cloud Kumo," Yvonne Ng, City College of New York

— "The Swan Girl," Johnny Coffeen, Maharishi University of Management

— "Die Flucht," Carter Boyce, DePaul University

— "Once upon a Line," Alicja Jasina, University of Southern California

— "The Wishgranter," Echo Wu, Ringling College of Art and Design

— "Fairy Tales," Rongfei Guo, New York University

— "4.1 Miles," Daphne Matziaraki, University of California, Berkeley

— "From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City," Elise Conklin, Michigan State University

— "It's Just a Gun," Brian Robau, Chapman University

— "Nocturne in Black," Jimmy Keyrouz, Columbia University

— "Rocket," Brenna Malloy, Chapman University

— "Invention of Trust," Alex Schaad, University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)

— "Tenants," Klara Kochanska, The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Poland)

— "Where the Woods End," Felix Ahrens, Film University Babelsberg (Germany)

— "Ayny," Ahmad Saleh, Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany)

— "The Most Beautiful Woman," Maya Sarfaty, Tel Aviv University (Israel)


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at .

Dalian Wanda, Sony to partner on multiple big-budget movies

China's Dalian Wanda Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group have formed a partnership to cooperate on multiple big-budget movies, marking another step into the global film industry by the Chinese conglomerate.

Wanda, which already owns AMC Theaters and bought Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January, said it would both invest in Sony productions and strive to highlight China in those films.

"The alliance will help strengthen Wanda's power to influence the global film industry, and set a good precedent for Chinese film producers in their international investment," said the statement it released Friday.

Jack Gao, Wanda's head of international investment and operations, said Wanda would continue to seek alliances with other content companies and closer relationships with leading media firms.

The statement did not name the films involved, although trade magazine Deadline reported possible investment and promotional cooperation for "Passengers," the sci-fi love story starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt being released later this year in the U.S.; a reboot of "Jumanji" due next year with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black; and an animated Smurfs film.

Legendary Entertainment begins production in 2017 on the first live-action Pokemon movie, called "Detective Pikachu."

Hollywood has been drawn to China by the country's deep-pocketed financiers and its box office that is now the world's second biggest. A quota on foreign films allows just 34 a year to show in Chinese theaters on a revenue-sharing basis, but the financial conditions improve vastly for Chinese-foreign co-productions.

Wanda has also been expanding its share of global box office, with AMC recently purchasing European cinema chain Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group in a deal making it the largest movie theater operator in the world.

Originally a property and cinema giant, Wanda has also expanded into sports, becoming a top-tier sponsor of FIFA in a deal that runs through the 2030 World Cup, for which China is considered likely to bid.

Wanda has also purchased Swiss firm Infront Sports & Media, Tampa and Florida-based World Triathlon Corp., along with acquiring a 20 percent stake in Spanish football team Atletico Madrid.

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