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Thompson on Hollywood

Studios Get Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 6:57 AM
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First Look: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

USA Today presents a first look at Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne Hathaway, pictured here as the Mad Hatter and the white and red queens, respectively. The on-line story allows you to explore cool large photos via zooms.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 6:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Studios Gets Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 2:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Family Films: Disney's Ponyo Works, Indie Hachiko Remake Doesn't

One's Japanese, the other isn't. And there's the rub.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 18, 2009 3:15 AM
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Overture Ups Ante

As Overture Films lines up their 2009/2010 slate--hoping for a breakout--Wednesday they announced development of Celeste & Jesse Forever, a divorce rom-com co-written by and co-starring Rashida Jones (I Love You Man, Parks and Recreation) and Will McCormack (Must Love Dogs, Syriana). Team Todd (Austin Powers, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland) is producing. (It's odd that Overture announced without a director in place.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 7:11 AM
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Bruno's Cohen Strikes Gay Poses

We all saw Sacha Baron Cohen in his Bruno guise descend on the face of Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards. Well, not since Zoolander have we seen a straight actor take so many gay poses. Not only is he on the cover of GQ--with more provocative spreads inside--but he looks quite fetching in a Brit military outfit at the Bruno London opening.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 7:04 AM
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Six Lessons of Summer Box Office

First the media touted the uptick in 2009 theatrical business, now they're pointing to a downturn compared to last summer's b.o., a few big flops and the absence of blockbusters. "Through Sunday, summer B.O. revs stood at $1.46 billion, compared to $1.47 billion last year," reports Variety.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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Major Studios Won't Consolidate, but Minors May Merge

The economy is a ruthless, Darwinian Master. Only the strong shall survive, and that applies to the mighty studios as well as everyone else. Sure, the theatrical market is holding up pretty well. But for every Fast & Furious, Star Trek and The Hangover there's a cynically bloated flop like Land of the Lost (for which Universal pulled print ads on its second weekend) or Imagine That. (The Wrap was inspired to do a quickie Stars Who Should Worry chart including Will Ferrell and Eddie Murphy, which probably got the site into more trouble than it was worth.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 7:19 AM
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Transformers' LaBoeuf: Troubled Star

What a difference two years makes. The picture on left of Shia LaBeouf ran in Parade Magazine when Disturbia made him into a star. The photo on the right ran this week in Parade in advance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Here's http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940483.html?categoryid=31&cs=1">Variety's review.) We all know that talent is only one component of a long and happy career. Stability is another. Or to put it another way, sometimes the sensitive tuning rod that is essential to a working actor's skill set isn't screwed on tight enough. LaBeouf speaks frankly about his demons. I wish him well in dealing with them.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 7:16 AM
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Father's Day Faves

Like Kris Tapley, my father turned me into a cinephile. (Cineaste, as Dave Kehr is wont to point out, is strictly reserved for filmmakers.) Raising two (and later three) kids in Manhattan, my father took us to the movies every weekend at the local movie houses: the Riverside and Riviera, Symphony, Nemo, Olympia, Thalia and New Yorker.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 1:09 AM
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