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Thompson on Hollywood

Winding Down Harry Potter's Visual Effects

Winding Down Harry Potter's Visual Effects
One of the mysteries of the Harry Potter series is how much Hollywood--and the Academy--have underappreciated the high-level craftsmanship on display throughout. Immersed in Movies' Bill Desowitz looks at the impact the end of the series will have on its visual effects artists.There's more at stake than the most successful film franchise in history coming to a halt with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. There's also a cottage visual effects industry in London that now has to get weaned off the wizard of Hogwarts.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 18, 2011 2:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Academy Silents Series Draws Crowds

What works in theater programming is creating events, whether it's talent Q & As (Errol Morris and Tabloid subject Joyce McKinney have been drawing crowds) or rarely-screened classics at LACMA, which drew good numbers for its French films The Earrings of Madame De last weekend followed by Saturday's double feature of Robert Bresson's Pickpocket and Jacques Demy's Bay of Angels starring a dazzling Jeanne Moreau as a bad girl gambling her way around the French Riviera. Even dusty silents can be a a draw, reports Cari Beauchamp:"The Summer of Silents," currently mid-way through its eight weeks series at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, has been an incredible success. The public programs at the Academy are always impeccably curated, but screening the Photoplay Best Film award-winners from 1920 to 1928 was risky during a summer of 3-D Transformers and the last Harry Potter. Yet every Monday, around 1,000 people have filled the Goldwyn auditorium on Wilshire to be entranced by classics accompanied by music, usually live and always elevating. (A trove of music for silents was recently unearthed.)
  • By Cari Beauchamp
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  • July 17, 2011 8:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Winnie the Pooh vs. Harry Potter

Winnie the Pooh vs. Harry Potter
It's curiouser and curiouser. Why would Disney put poor old Winnie the Pooh up against the mightiest franchise finale ever? New TOH columnist Bill Desowitz, who covers the inside workings of animation, visual effects and below-the-line filmmaking in Hollywood at his new blog Immersed in Movies, talks to the Disney animators behind this old-fashioned hand-drawn Pooh, which opened, despite rave reviews, in sixth place this weekend. Judging from its A- Cinemascore, strong WOM should bring more audiences to the picture in coming weeks: Oh, bother. What were they thinking at Disney, pitting the animated gang from the Hundred-Acre Wood against Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort this weekend?
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 17, 2011 8:11 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Harry Potter 8 Beats The Dark Knight's Opening Weekend Record UPDATED

Weekend Box Office: Harry Potter 8 Beats The Dark Knight's Opening Weekend Record UPDATED
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 smashed opening weekend records as moviegoers flocked to the ultimate event movie, the last in Warner Bros.' beloved eight-film series based on J.K. Rowling's global literary phenomenon. (See Richard Corliss's fine summation in Time.) Anthony D'Alessandro reports.No woe in the world -- neither national debt nor the closure of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles -- crimped U.S. moviegoers from seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 this weekend as they made the final film based on J.K. Rowling’s book series the biggest domestic opening of all-time at $168.55 million, ripping the wings off of Dark Knight’s $158.4 million – a record the Christopher Nolan Batman film has held over the past three years.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • July 17, 2011 4:01 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Marilyn Monroe Blows Up Big in Chicago

Marilyn Monroe's dress in Seven Year Itch recently sold at auction for $4.6 million, and now her iconic image standing over a subway grate is on view as a giant sculpture in Chicago. Check out every angle of the 26-foot Seward Johnson sculpture in this full slide show and here.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 17, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Jack & Gwen Meet Jack & Chloe (Sort Of) In Smashing Torchwood: Miracle Day - Rendition

Jack & Gwen Meet Jack & Chloe (Sort Of) In Smashing Torchwood: Miracle Day  - Rendition
David Chute reviews the second installment of the BBC/Starz SF mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day. Even better than the first, episode two set a much faster pace, hop-scotching between subplots unfolding simultaneously on two continents and on a trans-Atlantic airliner jetting between them.
  • By David Chute
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  • July 16, 2011 9:32 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Trailer Watch: You Instead Is Mad-Cap Romp for Hipsters, Early Reviews

Trailer Watch: You Instead Is Mad-Cap Romp for Hipsters, Early Reviews
Judging from the trailer below, Scottish filmmaker David Mackenzie’s latest flick You Instead may fill an untapped need: mad-cap romp for hipsters. The premise: in a world where boys and girls sport the same jeans, eye-liner, and scraggly hair, it’s easy to see how personalities collide. Especially when male rock-star (Luke Treadaway) and his female rocker rival (Natalie Tena) are handcuffed together—seemingly as some sort of punishment for golf-cart thievery.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • July 15, 2011 8:50 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Ronni Chasen Case Closed; Publicist Killed With Policeman's Stolen Gun

The Wrap has published a report on the closed case of publicist Ronni Chasen's death. The Beverly Hills Police confirmed that she was killed by a gun stolen from a police officer. Chasen was killed on November 16 on Sunset Boulevard while driving home from the premiere afterparty for Burlesque.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 15, 2011 8:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Hollywood

Harry Potter 8's First Day at the Box Office: Will the Weekend Slay Dark Knight's Record?

Harry Potter 8's First Day at the Box Office: Will the Weekend Slay Dark Knight's Record?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 charted a record midnight domestic estimate of $43.5 million from 3,800 sites, unseating previous champ The Twilight Saga: Eclipse which had earned $30 million in the slot, reports Anthony D'Alessandro.Bowing abroad on Wednesday in 26 countries, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 collected $43.6 million from 24 countries, Today, stateside, the film unspools in 4,300 venues--70% (or 3,000) of which are 3-D. Of these, 275 are IMAX hubs. While earlier projections saw Deathly Hallows: Part 2 becoming the third-highest weekend opener of all-time, the town is now predicting that the film will kick The Dark Knight's all-time Friday-Sunday record of $158.4 million in the pants.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • July 15, 2011 8:27 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Bridesmaids' Box Office Achievements: Analysis

We all know that Bridesmaids showed sexy legs at the summer box office, busting down doors for femme movies as well as breakouts Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. Anthony D'Alessandro digs into what the numbers really mean. The Universal sleeper has made back six times its $26.2 million opening (or $159 million) at a production cost of $33 million. It’s the highest-grossing Judd Apatow film of all time, beating his domestic directorial high Knocked Up ($153 million), and he didn’t even direct. All around, it's an anomaly for an R-rated film with female appeal.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • July 15, 2011 5:44 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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