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Thompson on Hollywood

The Horror, The Horror: Seven Rules for Success at the Box Office

With Halloween upon us, TOH box office analyst Anthony D'Alessandro looks at what's working--and what isn't--among horror genre titles. He finds seven often counter-intuitive rules to follow for horror success.The Paranormal Activity franchise stands as a pillar of success for horror films over the last year, reviving the genre after a recent spate of bombs (i.e. Devil, Case 39, My Soul to Take, Let Me In). What makes a horror title live or die at the B.O.? Here's a primer for horror success: 1. Realism rules: “When you touch death or visceral things like the other world, it makes people feel more alive," says Scream exec producer Harvey Weinstein. "That’s the allure of something like horror.”  Paranormal Activity producer Oren Peli is agreeing all the way to the bank: “What made Paranormal a success is that it feels small and intimate and it was important to stay true to this with the sequel,” he says. “While there are different types of horror films out there, i.e. gore, slasher, the slow psychological build of Paranormal scares people in a different way than being slashed apart.”  
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 29, 2010 7:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk
AWARDS
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 6:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Gender Watch: Theron for Snow, Cholodenko Talks, Lisbeth Salander and Hollywood's Woman Problem

-Charlize Theron could be in, and Angelina Jolie out for director Rupert Sanders' Snow White and The Huntsman, according to ThePlaylist. It was always a hopeful stretch to think that Jolie would sign up (get in line) but Theron's schedule has opened up thanks to the Mad Max postponement. That makes her an attractive candidate for evil queen Ravenna, who hires a bounty hunter (Inception Brit Tom Hardy, also starring in Mad Max) to chase down Snow White after her escape. Theron is currently shooting Jason Reitman's Young Adult with Patrick Wilson. While not as established as an action star as Jolie, Theron is one of the few actresses who can legitimately be considered alongside Jolie in the action sphere (as much for Monster and In The Valley of Elah as "actioners" Æon Flux and Hancock). Plot details are murky, but we like the thought of watching Theron boss around Hardy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 5:55 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Columbia's Tolmach and Belgrad Split; Tolmach Goes Indie Prod with Spider-Man, Belgrad Solo Prexy

The seven-year Columbia tenure of Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad has come to an end. Co-president since 2008, Tolmach is moving on to launch a new production company--he has a three-year contract-- and starting in December, will join with Marvel and Laura Ziskin on the next iteration of Spider-Man, a series he has shepherded since 2002. (Not a bad way to launch a solo career.) At the end of November, Belgrad will take over the solo reins at Columbia. He is bringing on Hannah Minghella as his new president of production. She has been president of Sony Pictures Animation since 2008, where she supervised Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming Arthur Christmas, The Pirates!, and Hotel Transylvania>
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 5:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: Love & Other Drugs, Lead and Supporting Actor Races, Favorite Horror Films

Oscar Talk: Love & Other Drugs, Lead and Supporting Actor Races, Favorite Horror Films
Kris Tapley of In Contention and I talk about Love & Other Drugs; the supporting actor race (which might include Sean Penn's Fair Game performance); Jennifer Lawrence, who breezed into town promoting Winter's Bone, as did the 127 Hours gang; favorite horror films on the eve of Halloween; Jacki Weaver's Oscar chances for Australia's Animal Kingdom; and why the Academy tends to recognize young actresses more than young actors.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 4:48 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Rear-View: Youngest Best Actress Nominees

Oscar Rear-View: Youngest Best Actress Nominees
Film Experience has decided (sight unseen) that True Grit gal Hailee Steinfeld has Best Actress potential rather than the usual supporting-actress default accorded to young actresses. Why? In order to include her in their investigation of the youngest Best Actress nominees. Here is their list (winners are in bold):1. Keisha Castle Hughes, Whale Rider (2003) was 13.
(Wow, well would you look at this? Either Jennifer Lawrence or Steinfeld would become #2 if nominated for Best Actress.) 2. Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H (1975) was 20. 3. Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice (2005) was 20 going on 21.  4. Ellen Page, Juno (2007) was about to turn 21. 5. Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (1986) was 21 (She's the youngest winner of all time in this category.) 6. Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue  (1965) was 22. 7. Kate Winslet, Titanic (1997) was 22 and 4 months. 8. Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven/Sunrise/Street Angel (1927/1928) was just a few days older than Winslet. 9. Leslie Caron, Lili (1953) was 22½ 10. TIE! Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman(1990) and Winona Ryder, Little Women (1994).
They were both 23 years and 108 days old when they were nominated. And here's another twin moment: it was the second nomination for both as they'd been previously honored in Best Supporting Actress.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2010 8:08 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Wrap: Blue Valentine's Gosling, Dive-Bombing 127 Hours, Best Actress Death Match

Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling not only talks to Crazy, Stupid, Love co-star Steve Carell, but self-mockingly poses in tight leather in the rain for Interview Magazine. On his past Oscar nomination for Half Nelson, he says: "it feels weird…not that long ago that I was on a TV show called Young Hercules in which I had a fake tan and wore tight leather pants and fought imaginary monsters." As for working on the smaller indie films he loves, the downside is that "when you’re making them, you’re pretty sure no one’s going to see them," he notes---unless they get a nomination: "[it] in some way affirms those choices by making it possible for people to hear about a film and maybe see a movie they wouldn’t have otherwise seen."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2010 7:55 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: Animation Deadline Nears, Three or Five?

Oscar Watch: Animation Deadline Nears, Three or Five?
It's coming down to the wire. Will the animation category be three or five? It all depends on whether the final animated features submitted by the November 1 deadline are eligible--and add up to sixteen, which means there will be five nominations, or less, which yields three. Did the films premiere in cinemas, or on TV? Much is at stake: there's a big difference between three and five. (The visual effects category is now set to five: because there are so many eligible films, it's not an issue any more.) But animation still has to meet the magic number sixteen to yield five slots.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 28, 2010 5:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Contender Lawrence Talks Winter's Bone, X-Men's Mystique, Foster's The Beaver

As the Winter's Bone DVD and Blu-ray went out this week, rising star Jennifer Lawrence hit Los Angeles to accept a New Hollywood award at the Hollywood Film Fest, on a brief break from her role as Mystique (originated by Rebecca Romijn) in X-Men: First Class.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2010 12:57 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Sound of Music Reunion on Oprah

True confession: I sang along with The Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl a few summers back, with a lot of other happy fans of the 1965 musical, which is still the third most successful movie of all time (after Gone with the Wind and Star Wars). Corrected for inflation in 2005 dollars, according to Blockbusting, the movie's domestic gross (including rereleases) would be $953.9 million (158.9), its cost $49.7 million ($8.0). It took 114 days to make, 25 days over-schedule. Nominated for ten Oscars, it won five, including best picture and actress (Julie Andrews, cast after the director saw advance footage of Mary Poppins) and director (Robert Wise).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2010 11:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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