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Inn key to room where Marilyn Monroe stayed sells for $131

The key to a room at the Connecticut inn where Marilyn Monroe stayed in 1956 while dating playwright Arthur Miller has sold for $131.

The key from the Homestead Inn in New Milford sold Friday on eBay to a woman who lives in the town, antiques dealer Loretta Kretchko said Monday.

Kretchko, who runs Bob Kretchko Antiques with her husband, Bob, said they bought the inn's keys two years ago when the property changed hands. There were multiple keys for other rooms but only one for Monroe's favorite — No. 22, Loretta Kretchko said.

The Kretchkos put the key up for sale after seeing the interest generated by the recent auction of a dress Monroe wore as she famously sang "Happy Birthday" to President John Kennedy. The dress sold this month for $4.8 million.

"I did think the key would have gone for a little more money to a Marilyn Monroe collector," Loretta Kretchko said. "It went to a local person for nostalgia."

During the time Monroe stayed at the inn, Miller lived in nearby Roxbury. The couple later married.

28-year-old becomes 17 again in Zhang Mo's directorial debut

Differing Chinese and Western expectations over marriage provided the inspiration for Zhang Mo's directorial debut, "Suddenly Seventeen," which she says is about encouraging young women to "explore a little further" before they settle down.

The daughter of Chinese cinematic great Zhang Yimou, Zhang said returning to China after years of study in the United States felt like "a reverse culture shock." Then 26 and viewing a life full of possibilities, Zhang was startled that people thought she should already be married and planning a family.

"Women in the West, by the age of 28 ... they still feel like they're still young, they still want to pursue their career maybe, and (find) out who they are, but in China it's almost like the opposite," said Zhang, now 33 and married to an American who works for the Hollywood agency representing her.

Set for release next month, "Suddenly Seventeen" is based on a novel published on the internet. It's part of a hugely popular genre among young Chinese that focuses mainly on fantasy and romance tales and has spawned movies and web series.

In Zhang's film, the 28-year-old protagonist, Liang Xia, played by Ni Ni, is unhappy in love and eats a magical chocolate that wipes her memory and turns her back into a 17-year-old. Zhang says she seized on the short novel's premise and characters, but rather than keeping Liang at 17, her heroine flips back and forth in age every five hours, creating conflict and drama.

After moving to the U.S. at 15, Zhang studied architecture at university but felt stifled by an internship at a New York firm. "Everyone was in a box ... because they don't want to steal each other's ideas," she said. "For me, I still want to connect with people, I still want to express emotions, so I decided maybe architecture wasn't the best choice for me."

After studying filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she returned to China to work as an editor on four of her father's films, including "The Flowers of War" starring Christian Bale.

"It's really a privilege, because editing's really the best way to learn how to become a director," Zhang said. "Whatever he shot I saw, and I made that into a story, and so through that process you really learn how to cut the movie, how to tell the story, or even how to shoot the film to make it great."

Emerging as part of the Chinese post-Cultural Revolution avant-garde, Zhang Yimou gained international acclaim in the 1980s for art films such as "Red Sorghum" before turning to more commercial fare. His first English-language movie, "The Great Wall" starring Matt Damon, comes out next year.

Being the offspring of a famous director isn't always an advantage, Zhang Mo says.

"People immediately (think) you must have way more resources, and you can have way more shortcuts, but actually it's not true. If anything it's the opposite because the family aspect casts such a big shadow, you have to be extra creative, or working extra hard, to gain the audience's approval."

Despite basing her directorial debut on an internet novel, Zhang says that movie genre may have already peaked, with audiences now looking for fresher and more personal stories rather than something that has amassed a huge online fan base.

"I think original content right now is the key for the future of Chinese filmmaking, to tout original stories, not something (remade), not some internet novel," she said.

"Suddenly Seventeen," whose Chinese title translates as "28-year-old Minor," will be widely released in China and given a limited release in cinemas in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand on Dec. 2. It will be released later in the month in South Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries.

28-year-old becomes 17 again in Zhang Mo's directorial debut

Differing Chinese and Western expectations over marriage provided the inspiration for Zhang Mo's directorial debut, "Suddenly Seventeen," which she says is about encouraging young women to "explore a little further" before they settle down.

The daughter of Chinese cinematic great Zhang Yimou, Zhang said returning to China after years of study in the United States felt like "a reverse culture shock." Then 26 and viewing a life full of possibilities, Zhang was startled that people thought she should already be married and planning a family.

"Women in the West, by the age of 28 ... they still feel like they're still young, they still want to pursue their career maybe, and (find) out who they are, but in China it's almost like the opposite," said Zhang, now 33 and married to an American who works for the Hollywood agency representing her.

Set for release next month, "Suddenly Seventeen" is based on a novel published on the internet. It's part of a hugely popular genre among young Chinese that focuses mainly on fantasy and romance tales and has spawned movies and web series.

In Zhang's film, the 28-year-old protagonist, Liang Xia, played by Ni Ni, is unhappy in love and eats a magical chocolate that wipes her memory and turns her back into a 17-year-old. Zhang says she seized on the short novel's premise and characters, but rather than keeping Liang at 17, her heroine flips back and forth in age every five hours, creating conflict and drama.

After moving to the U.S. at 15, Zhang studied architecture at university but felt stifled by an internship in a New York firm. "Everyone was in a box ... because they don't want to steal each other's ideas," she said. "For me, I still want to connect with people, I still want to express emotions, so I decided maybe architecture wasn't the best choice for me."

After studying filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she returned to China to work as an editor on four of her father's films, including "The Flowers of War" starring Christian Bale.

"It's really a privilege, because editing's really the best way to learn how to become a director," Zhang said. "Whatever he shot I saw, and I made that into a story, and so through that process you really learn how to cut the movie, how to tell the story, or even how to shoot the film to make it great."

Emerging as part of the Chinese post-Cultural Revolution avant-garde, Zhang Yimou gained international acclaim in the 1980s for art films such as "Red Sorghum" before turning to more commercial fare. His first English-language movie, "The Great Wall" starring Matt Damon, comes out next year.

Being the offspring of a famous director isn't always an advantage, Zhang Mo says.

"People immediately (think) you must have way more resources, and you can have way more shortcuts, but actually it's not true. If anything it's the opposite because the family aspect casts such a big shadow, you have to be extra creative, or working extra hard, to gain the audience's approval."

Despite basing her directorial debut on an internet novel, Zhang says that movie genre may have already peaked, with audiences now looking for fresher and more personal stories rather than something that has amassed a huge online fan base.

"I think original content right now is the key for the future of Chinese filmmaking, to tout original stories, not something (remade), not some internet novel," she said.

"Suddenly Seventeen," whose Chinese title translates as "28-year-old Minor," will be widely released in China and given a limited release in cinemas in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand on Dec. 2. It will be released later in the month in South Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries.

China plans $2 billion film studio as part of culture drive

China's government has announced plans to build a $2 billion film studio as part of a national push to expand its cultural influence.

The studio in the southwest municipality of Chongqing will include a theme park and tourist attractions, state media reported late Sunday. Construction will begin early next year and is expected to cost 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion).

Officials say they have operating agreements already with several foreign partners. The official Xinhua News Agency said the park would include tie-ins with gaming and online entertainment.

The park will be named after President Xi Jinping's signature "One Belt, One Road" program, a multibillion-dollar effort to deepen China's economic and cultural ties with its western and southern neighbors reaching as far as east Africa.

China is already the world's second-largest film market and home to the world's largest theater operator, Dalian Wanda, which has purchased American media companies AMC Theatres and Legendary Entertainment. Its signature film studio, Hengdian World Studios, spans almost 3,000 hectares (7,000 acres).

Facing growing domestic demand, Chinese officials and companies have sought to fend off Western film imports by producing more competitive films locally. A national quota permits just 34 Hollywood films to be shown each year in domestic theaters.

'Moana' cruises with $81.1M Thanksgiving weekend

Disney's South Pacific animated tale "Moana" fell short of a "Frozen"-sized debut but nevertheless dominated the Thanksgiving box office with an estimated $81.1 million over the five-day weekend.

The well-reviewed "Moana," about a princess's mythical journey in ancient Polynesia, earned $55.5 million from Friday to Sunday in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though it didn't match the 2013 Thanksgiving release of "Frozen" ($93.6 million over five days in 2013), "Moana" ("MWAH-nah") scored the second-highest Turkey Day debut ever.

Boosted by the star power of Dwayne Johnson and the appeal of original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of "Hamilton," ''Moana" landed Disney another big hit in a year full of them. The studio has notched four of the top six films ("Finding Dory," ''Captain America: Civil War," ''Zootopia," ''The Jungle Book") and still has "Star Wars: Rogue One" coming in December.

"If you look at the track record of this year, there's definitely a correlation to the films that have broken out and become hits," said Dave Hollis, head of domestic distribution at Disney. "Each of (Disney's top performers) had Rotten Tomatoes scores in the 90 percent range, each of them had CinemaScores that were As. If you make something that has great story and huge scale and is ultimately living under the brand, the chances of having success are overwhelmingly higher."

Falling to second was J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which earned $65.8 million over the five-day weekend and $45.1 million over the three-day weekend. The Harry Potter spinoff, from Warner Bros., has brought in $156.2 million in two weeks. Overseas, "Fantastic Beasts," debuted in China, where its $41.1 million fueled a weekend haul of $132 million internationally.

Those two blockbusters far outpaced more star-driven films.

The Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard World War II romance "Allied" opened with a mediocre $18 million over five days. The Paramount Pictures release, directed by Robert Zemeckis, cost a hefty $85 million to make. But for a proudly old-fashioned film built around the appeal of its stars, "Allied" had to largely do without Pitt's promotional presence. The actor's divorce proceedings from Angelina Jolie largely eclipsed the film, which drew an audience 85 percent over the age of 25.

"It played older and older audiences don't storm the theaters weekend one. I think they're going to take their time," said Kyle Davies, Paramount's head of domestic distribution. "There's not a big influx of new movies until you get closer to Christmas, so we think that's good for the playability of the picture."

But Warren Beatty's first film in 15 years, the 1950s Hollywood comedy "Rules Don't Apply," resolutely bombed with $2.2 million over the five-day weekend. Written and directed by Beatty, who also co-stars as Howard Hughes, "Rules Don't Apply" is the 79-year-old star's first directed feature since 1998's "Bulworth." Though Beatty has worked hard to push the movie (made for about $25 million), its slim total despite playing on 2,382 screens is one of the worst debuts of a wide release in recent years.

"Bad Santa 2," from Broad Green and Miramax, didn't flop as badly as "Rules Don't Apply," but it pulled in a scant $9 million over five days. The sequel, again starring Billy Bob Thornton, comes 13 years after the 2003 original.

In limited release, a number of potential awards contenders packed theaters. Debuting on a handful of screens were "Lion" ($32,092 per-screen average), with Dev Patel, and "Miss Sloane" ($21,000 per-screen average), with Jessica Chastain. Expanding from four to 48 screens was "Manchester by the Sea," starring Casey Affleck. It took in $1.3 million with a per-screen average of $26,048.

The holiday weekend was the sixth biggest Thanksgiving at the box office, according to comScore, falling slightly behind most recent years. But the fairly strong business, led by well-reviewed tent pole releases, continued what's been a healthy fall season, up 4.5 percent from last year.

"I don't think you could find a better line-up in theaters right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "I'd rather see a group of great movies maybe not breaking a record than a group of terrible movies breaking records left and right. This is better for the long term. This creates goodwill."

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 Monday.

1. "Moana," $55.5 million ($16.3 million international).

2. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," $45.1 million ($132 million international).

3. "Doctor Strange," $13.4 million ($9.8 million international).

4. "Allied," $13 million ($9.4 million international).

5. "Arrival," $11.3 million ($6.7 million international).

6. "Trolls," $10.4 million ($7.2 million international).

7. "Bad Santa 2," $6.1 million ($1.4 million international).

8. "Almost Christmas," $5.7 million.

9. "Hacksaw Ridge," $5.5 million ($2.1 million international).

10. "The Edge of Seventeen," $3 million.

___

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

1. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," $132 million.

2. "Moana," $16.3 million.

3. "Doctor Strange," $9.8 million.

4. "Allied," $9.4 million.

5. "Trolls," $7.2 million.

6. "Arrival," $6.7 million.

7. "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," $6.1 million.

8. "Brother," $6.1 million.

9. "I Am Not Madam Bovary," $6 million.

10. "Sky on Fire," $3.8 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Feng Xiaogang wins Golden Horse for 'I Am Not Madame Bovary'

Veteran Chinese director Feng Xiaogang picked up the best director award for his social satire "I Am Not Madame Bovary" at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards, considered the equivalent of the Oscars for Mandarin-language cinema.

Feng's "I Am Not Madame Bovary" stars Fan Bingbing as a woman who spends a decade fighting China's bureaucracy to have her divorce nullified after being swindled by her ex-husband.

Best feature at Saturday's ceremony went to Zhang Dalei's "The Summer Is Gone," about a boy's summer vacation in Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s set to the backdrop of shrinking jobs at state-owned companies during a time of economic reform. The film's 10-year-old actor Kong Weiyi took home the best new performer award.

The two lead actresses in the romantic drama "Soul Mate" shared the best actress award. Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun played two best friends whose relationship is tested when they fall in love with the same man.

"Together we make a fantastic duo," said Ma. "I would not be me without her, and she would not be her without me."

Fan Wei won best actor for his performance in "Mr. No Problem" as the manager of a money-losing farm in Chongqing in the 1940s. Fan said he was grateful the jury had "perceived the subtleness I brought to the character."

Disney's 'Moana' beats 'Frozen' Thanksgiving weekend box office numbers

Disney's latest animated movie has one of its most popular ones beat.

The Los Angeles Times reported that "Moana" bested "Frozen's'" first-day box office numbers Wednesday to start the Thanksgiving holiday weekend..

>> Read more trending stories

"Moana" pulled in an estimated $15.7 million, compared to "Frozen's" first-day box office numbers of $15.1 million.

For the entire five-day weekend, "Frozen" still holds the record: It's Thanksgiving weekend opening in 2013 was $93.6 million.

"Moana" focuses on a namesake teenager who goes on an adventure to help save her family.

Movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 97 percent fresh score.

Early projections said "Moana" will surpass "Frozen's" Thanksgiving weekend record, but Box Office Mojo reported it's not likely and that an $85 million opening is more probable.

As of Friday, "Moana" remained No. 1 at the box office, pulling in an estimated $9.9 million and a two-day total of over $25 million.

Putin gives Russian passport to US actor Steven Seagal

President Vladimir Putin has given a Russian passport to U.S. action film star Steven Seagal, calling it a sign of a thaw in relations with the United States.

The 64-year old actor has been a regular visitor to Russia in recent years and has accompanied Putin to several martial arts events.

Seagal also has vocally defended the Russian leader's policies and criticized the U.S. government.

After awarding Seagal citizenship through a presidential decree earlier this month, Putin hosted the actor at the Kremlin on Friday and handed him the passport.

Putin told Seagal he hopes the ceremony, which was shown on Russian state television, is "also a sign of a gradual normalization of the relations between the countries."

Dev Patel sunk his teeth into 'Lion' and didn't let go

Dev Patel knows how special a film like "Lion" is. He's been waiting nearly 8 years, since his breakout in "Slumdog Millionaire," for a role as substantive and soulful as Saroo Brierley, an Indian man who was lost as a 5-year-old, adopted and raised by Australian parents, and who, 25 years later, used Google Earth to retrace his steps to his hometown and his birthmother, not knowing the name of either.

"I read an article about it somewhere, I'm not quite sure where, and I was completely mesmerized," Patel said.

It's why the 26-year-old pursued the part so aggressively, showing up at screenwriter Luke Davies's doorstep before the script was even finished, and, after winning the part, taking a full eight months to prepare. Not only did the rail-thin Patel bulk up to play the sporty Saroo, grow his hair out, and learn a difficult Australian accent, but he also fully immersed himself into the emotional and spiritual reality of the man.

"I traveled the trains in India. I wrote a diary. I went to orphanages. I'd watched every piece of material about (Brierley) out there on Google and YouTube. When I met him I felt like, 'God I've known you for eight, nine, months already,'" Patel recalled. "The first thing I said was, 'You found a needle in a haystack from space. You literally did that.' And he started laughing."

Brierley and Patel had to go much deeper than that, though. This is not a simple boy goes home story. Brierley's traumatic separation from his home and his mother and struggle to survive on his own is contrasted by his then comfortable upbringing in Australia with supportive and loving adoptive parents. His past is something that he represses for years, until it becomes a ghost so undeniable that he must do everything he can to find his mother.

"We sat down and spoke about this idea of guilt. He spoke about astral traveling with me. We got very meta in a way," Patel said. "He could remember these things so vividly because every single night he would walk those streets home to his mother. That's how he could remember it."

It's one of those stranger-than-fiction stories that begs for cinematic treatment.

"I can't say that the majority or even half the movie is sensationalized. It really isn't. It actually happened in real life," Brierley said.

On set, director Garth Davis pushed Patel deeper into Brierley's pain. He had Patel watch the actor playing the 5-year-old Brierley (newcomer Sunny Pawar) so that there were specific memories to draw on. He threw him into big scenes right off the bat (they shot the very last scene first), and he made him do "hippie" mental exercises like staring into a mirror for a half hour before coming to set one day.

"The first two minutes were excruciating, because when you do that, you're usually brushing your teeth or popping a pimple or something and then the next 20 minutes all of a sudden I got sucked into this sort of trance-like state and I couldn't recognize the person staring back at me," Patel said. "I looked like my father, I looked like my mother. And I went to set visibly shaken. I was like 'Garth, I feel like a fool, like I don't know who I am. I think that the task went horribly wrong.' He looked at me and said, 'that's exactly what you should feel. Your body is just a shell but your soul is ever-changing. I was like 'whoa.'"

It was all in service of capturing the essence of Brierley, who Patel knows he doesn't look like.

"I really relate to characters kind of going against the odds and underdogs who show perseverance," Patel said, although he doesn't like direct comparisons with "Slumdog Millionaire."

For Patel, the stories represent completely different journeys — Brierley is a modern Australian man who remembers little of his Indian identity.

Patel is already fully on the awards trail for "Lion." He's done this before, but now has a bit of experience under his belt and is no longer that wide-eyed 18-year-old. He said he's taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to and learn from his fellow actors on the same path.

"The first time around I was so beautifully naive about it. I look at Sunny and I can relate to it. He met Bill Clinton the other day and I don't quite think it dawned on him who the man was he was meeting," Patel said, laughing.

Ultimately, Patel is just grateful that he was able to stretch beyond "your usual quirky best friend character role or like tech extraordinaire."

"Stories like this, they're so few and far between especially for a British Indian guy like myself," he said. "I think everyone faces a stereotype ... I don't want to make it about that. It's just my thought process of throwing absolutely everything at this role. I knew how precious it was."

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Iranian filmmaker imprisoned for a year over his work

Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi has begun serving a year-long prison sentence handed down over footage authorities deemed insulting, his production company confirmed on Thursday.

The charges against the 30-year-old stemmed from a film he directed called "Writing on the City" that focuses on political graffiti in Iran from the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution to the contested 2009 election. He was initially sentenced to six years behind bars after being found guilty of "insulting sanctities" in October 2015.

In February, an appeals court reduced the sentence to one year but kept the requirement that Karimi endure 223 lashes as stipulated in his original sentence.

Speaking to The Associated Press earlier this week, Karimi said he hopes to use the time behind bars to complete the script for his next film.

"Be sure, I'm strong. Inside, and mentally, I'm ready," he said.

Karimi was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard and held in solitary confinement in December 2013 after a trailer for "Writing on the City" was posted on YouTube, according to Paris-based production company Les Films de l'Apres-Midi. It confirmed he began his sentence at Tehran's Evin Prison on Wednesday.

The production company is releasing Karimi's first feature film, "Drum," which premiered this summer at the Venice International Film Festival.

Iranian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Karimi is one of several artists, poets, journalists, fashion models and activists who have been arrested in a crackdown on expression led by hard-liners who oppose President Hassan Rouhani's more moderate policies and efforts to promote greater openness with the outside world.

Karimi said he is determined to remain in Iran despite the challenges.

"I want to reconstruct Iran based on my dream. Maybe it's crazy," he said. "But I'm thinking about the future, our children's future."

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Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adamschreck .

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