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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Winners: Where the Wild Things Are, Law Abiding Citizen, Paranormal Activity

Weekend Box Office WinnersSpike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are led the weekend box office. While an estimated $32.4 million was a studio record for October (the movie was on some 3700 screens), the number wasn't as big as some expected after its stellar Friday. The studio aimed the PG-rated film at a general, not family audience. But will the $90-million movie make its money back? Finally, Warners backed filmmakers working outside of the box, and that's a good thing.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 6:05 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Indie Spirits Move Their Awards Show

The biggest story out of the recent New York Film Festival had nothing to do with the movies shown at that 17-day fest. No, the subject of heated discussion wasn't the opening night selection Wild Grass or Lars von Trier's Antichrist: it was the change of venue of the opening night party. The indie world did not convene on Tavern on the Green as it had for more than thirty years. In a budget-cutting move, new Film Society of Lincoln Center chief Mara Manus saved $150,000 by cutting back the list and throwing a more intimate party at the new Alice Tully Hall.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 5:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Awards Season Kicks Off with Gotham Noms: Hurt Locker Gets Boost

Each successive round of awards announcements is about whether a movie gets a boost or not. It's not terrible to be left out of the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations. It's more about getting a slight boost as you build toward the inevitable momentum that accrues to the eventual real contenders for the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits or the Oscars. It gets harder, as time goes on, to grab attention in order to coax critics and Academy voters to watch your film. Otherwise you wind up on the bottom of a growing DVD pile.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 5:24 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Academy's Davis Talks Producers and Hosts

Oscar Watch: Academy's Davis Talks Producers and Hosts
Picking a producer for the Oscar telecast is the first big project facing any incoming Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president like Tom Sherak. But the process can't start before he's elected. And the new president is still learning the ropes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 17, 2009 8:28 AM
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  • 14 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

The Messenger: Oscar Contender?

The Messenger: Oscar Contender?
Rookie director Oren Moverman's The Messenger faces the same obstacle in the fall awards season as the Michelle Monaghan star vehicle Trucker. It's one of many marginal outsider films that has to get seen before it has a chance. The movie is a stark portrait of two soldiers (Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster) who have to deliver news to families that their loved ones have died in Iraq. Not only do they have to handle their assignment delicately, but they must also absorb the shock, pain and grief of the bereaved.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 17, 2009 8:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Will Amelia Biopic Play?

Trailer Watch: Will Amelia Biopic Play?
I'll be showing Mira Nair's Amelia at Sneak Previews this week. I've seen the biopic of the vanished aviatrix Amelia Earhart, which stars Oscar magnet Hilary Swank and Richard Gere, and look forward to grilling the screenwriters, Ron Bass (Rain Man) and Anna Hamilton Phelan (Gorillas in the Mist). The question at hand: how do you tackle a movie biography these days, when authenticity is at such a premium?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 17, 2009 6:33 AM
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  • 11 Comments

Where the Wild Things Are: Weekend Must-See

Weekend Must-See:Where the Wild Things Are Tomatometer 69% Metascore 71
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 17, 2009 2:03 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Chaos Reigns: Antichrist vs. Fantastic Mr. Fox

What's with all the foxes in movies these days? My Variety colleague Peter Debruge couldn't resist mashing-up the The Fantastic Mr. Fox trailer with the "chaos reigns" clip from Lars von Trier's Antichrist, below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 16, 2009 11:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Video, Trailers

Oscar Talk Episode 6

Oscar Talk Episode 6
In our sixth Oscar Talk podcast, In Contention's Kris Tapley and I debate the foreign and animation races, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger, Where the Wild Things Are and The Last Station.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 16, 2009 10:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

With Paranormal Activity, Paramount Sets New Marketing Model

With Paranormal Activity, Paramount Sets New Marketing Model
From the start, Paramount online marketing executive Amy Powell knew that she could sell micro-budget horror thriller Paranormal Activity on the Internet.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2009 8:48 AM
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  • 21 Comments

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