Full house expected for Sunday’s tribute to James Pope

The late James Polk of Schumacher Camera

IT LOOKS LIKE A CAPACITY CROWD will attend the James Pope Celebration of Life this Sunday at the Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark, from noon to 4 p.m.

Producer Michelle Breger, who’s co-hosting the event with Michael Roper, Hopleaf owner and long-time friend of the late Schumacher Camera partner, also tells the Reel that educational fund donations have reached nearly $39,000 for Pope’s son, Caleb, 11, a student at Rogers Park Montessori School.

”The big and more important is thing is,” Breger says, referring to the generosity of the crowdfunding donors, “how this Chicago film family that we are all a part of … is always ready to rise to the occasion and pitch in. We are the best family there is. I couldn’t dream of being in another industry. We always have each others’ back.”

THERE’S A LOT OF BUZZ about a possible “Empire” spinoff. It stems from “Empire” creator Lee Daniels interview with The Hollywood Reporter following the TV Critics Association’s winter press tour last Wednesday.

“We’re in talks,” Daniels told THR. “We’re finally figuring it out. We just really had to build the foundation of ‘Empire,’ so we then try to figure out what that B-chorus is. It looks like it’s going to happen.”

Daniels didn’t reveal if the spinoff could be for this current pilot season or a planted episode that serves as a back-door pilot. The premise is unclear, although talk in August 2015 suggested a spinoff would be a prequel revolving around Taraji P. Henson’s character Cookie.

“THE FOUNDER” BIOPIC ABOUT RAY KROC, the Chicago salesman who turned the McDonald brothers fast-food eatery into one of the biggest restaurant chains in the world, opens in Chicago Friday, Jan. 20 at the ArcLight, AMC River East 21 and AMC 600 North Michigan theatres.

Directed by John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”) and produced on a $7 million budget, Michael Keaton stars as Kroc, Nic Offerman as Dick McDonald and John Carroll Lynch as his brother Mac McDonald, among the 75 actors in the cast.

Faliro House Productions of Athens Greece was the production company and the Weinstein Company of New York is distributing.

Sidebar: IFP Chicago is hosting an advance Jan. 17 screening of “The Founder” at the Landmark Century Cinema, 7 p.m. Free to IFP members.