Can Competing Lance Armstrong Movies Cross The Finish Line?

Movies opening Friday, Oct. 18

British stage and screen actor Benedict Cumberbatch (center) plays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the biopic "The Fifth Estate." Photo: Frank Connor, Associated Press

CDT, October 16, 2013 With a documentary about Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace already set for release next month, two feature films about the cyclist are now in a race to hit theaters. On Tuesday, the production company Working Title announced Ben Foster had been cast as Armstrong in a Stephen Frears-directed biopic set to begin filming Friday. Based on sportswriter David Walsh’s “Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong,” the picture will detail Armstrong’s rise and fall, along with his contentious relationship with Walsh (played by Chris O’Dowd). PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club The film seems to be moving along more quickly than “Red Blooded American,” a Bradley Cooper-produced and -starring take on the Armstrong saga. Set up at Warner Bros. and developed by director Jay Roach, that movie will touch on the relationship between Armstrong and his former teammate, Tyler Hamilton, who in a “60 Minutes” interview accused the seven-time Tour de France winner of cheating. (After vehement denials, Armstrong later came clean–sort of. The champion was of course stripped of all his Tour de France titles.) All of this comes as a movie feauturing the real participants prepares to hit the screen. OnNov. 8, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney will bring his movie “The Armstrong Lie” to theaters. The filmmaker initially intended to chronicle the athlete’s triumphs over the course of one comeback season several years ago, but decided to change course when, deep in the edit process, allegations of Armstrong’s doping gained traction. (Incidentally, Sony Pictures and producer Frank Marshall had been prepping its own triumph-of-the-spirit movie based on Armstrong”s “It’s Not About the Bike” for several years but, despite interest from the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, the project began to recede after Armstrong’s problems grew.) Interest in the Armstrong episode continues even nine months after the cyclist gave his now-famous Oprah Winfrey interview. But will moviegoers continue to care–and, if they do, will they care to support as many as three different movies? PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments When movies with similar themes are released within a short time span, one always seems to get the short end of the stick. In 2012, “Snow White and the Huntsman” ended up raking in $230 million more worldwide than “Mirror Mirror,” a Snow White tale that had been released several months earlier.

The most pirated movies are the hardest to buy online

Rated PG-13. Note: Filmmaker Martha Shane will appear at select shows at the Roxie ; check website ( www.roxie.com ) for more information. Broadway Idiot It’s one of the weirder career arcs we’ve seen: Green Day making the leap from East Bay punks to savvy stadium band to Broadway. The documentary tracks the band’s role in the Broadway show, the hurdles and learning curve in adapting the music into a show, and the illuminating effect it’s had on front man Billie Joe Armstrong . Not rated. Carrie This reimagining of the classic horror tale makes a couple of distinct points: Don’t mess with a girl and her senior prom, and bullying bounces back. Chloe Grace Moretz kicks butt in a telekinetic way, with Julianne Moore as her devout mama. Rated R. Concussion In this sexual drama, Abby awakens the morning after getting hit in the head and sees her existence with new eyes. Domesticity – a house, kids, a wife, a career – seems so staid. She wants to stretch herself as Eleanor, embracing a double life as a prostitute.

Lance Armstrong will be the subject of two upcoming movies and a documentary

As PiracyData’s chart below shows, four out of the 10 most pirated movies cannot be purchased legally online. Out of the remaining six movies, three are available for full-priced purchase, but not for rent. None of the top 10 movies can be watched through subscription streaming services such as Netflix. On its face, it looks like a missed opportunity for the movie industry. Viewers may feel pushed toward piracy when they can’t purchase or at least rent the movies they want to watch. But it’s also worth noting the release timing of these movies. Every single movie on the list came out this year, but is no longer showing in major theaters. With the exception of three films, most of these movies are now in an awkward stage where you can buy them on DVD, but cannot rent them online. DVD sales are plummeting . People are growing accustomed to pressing a button and streaming a movie instantly. The idea of withholding new movies from digital rental just to juice DVD sales looks increasingly antiquated as people move beyond the optical disc. For disposable films that people only want to watch once, a mandatory $15 or $20 purchase is undesirable as well.