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Thompson on Hollywood

Box Office Scandal: Circuit Dealing Pervades Small Towns, Flagship vs. Century Theatres

In a David vs. Goliath face-off, indie-owned Flagship Theaters recently won an appeal in its crusade against Cinemark’s Century Theatres. Does the age-old practice of circuit dealing — an unethical way for chain exhibitors to muscle studios — still persist? Anthony D’Alessandro digs further into this taboo topic: What is circuit dealing, exactly? It’s a predatory film booking practice whereby multiplex chains strong-arm studios for product in a specific market. If a studio decides to book with the competition in a given community, usually a Mom-and-Pop venue, then the exhibitor will threaten to bar that film (or future films) from playing the entire chain.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 27, 2011 11:38 AM
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The Rum Diary Hits a Film Festival: The Hamptons

Things are looking up for the long-delayed literary adaptation The Rum Diary, Johnny Depp's second run at writer Hunter M. Thompson. Whenever a movie sits on the shelf for long, it starts to small a little. But while FilmDistrict did not take the film to early fall film fests, they have booked it as the opening of Elvis Mitchell's Film Independent series at LACMA and will play the upcoming Hamptons Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2011 10:24 AM
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Poster Watch: Spielberg's War Horse is Everything You'd Expect

Sight unseen, Steven Spielberg's War Horse, based only on the trailer, is clearly Oscar bait. The new poster (below) offers exactly what you'd expect for the PG-13 film based on Michael Morpurgo's novel about a boy, his horse and WWI. It has Spielberg and Christmastime-heart-tugging written all over it. "Separated by War. Tested by Battle. Bound by Friendship." Awww. And what a lovely sunset, too.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 27, 2011 9:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Academy Shorts and Foreign Submissions Due October 3, Leading Foreign Contenders

The Motion Picture Academy has set 5 pm Monday, October 3 as the deadline to submit complete entries in the Live Action Short Film, Animated Short Film and Foreign Language Film categories. Last year 65 films qualified for the foreign language Oscar race. Only five will be selected by the foreign language committee, headed by producer Mark Johnson.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2011 7:58 AM
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Trey Parker and Matt Stone Talk Book of Mormon, South Park, Scientology on 60 Minutes

Matt Stone and Trey Parker talk to 60 Minutes about the success of their Tony-winning Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, as well as their starving artist days and the rise of South Park. You can watch the episode below; more web extras are here.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 27, 2011 7:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment

IMDb Launches Free Trivia iPhone and iPod Touch App

If you are the largest movie website in the world, what do you do when you want to broaden your already huge readership? If you're the mighty Internet Movie Database (110 million unique visitors per month, 2 million video views a day), you take your popular mobile apps one step farther and devise a free entertainment trivia game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. (It's playable on an iPad, but in a small window.) So IMDb chief Col Needham has given movie geeks everywhere (remember Trivial Pursuits Silver Screen Edition?) something to play with while they're waiting in line. (No wonder he was advising me to switch from my BlackBerry to an iPhone at Cannes.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2011 6:59 AM
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You're Next Reviews: Adam Wingard's Horror Wins Big at Fantastic Fest, A Treat for Genre Fans

Adam Wingard's horror confection You're Next just ate up the competition at Fantastic Fest after premiering in Toronto's Midnight Madness. Lionsgate scooped it up, because both audiences and critics are hot and bothered by what could be that rare horror film breakout in an often disappointing genre.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 27, 2011 6:44 AM
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Kalliope's Van Gogh Biopic Seeks Director

The rich, dramatic story of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh--who has his own museum in Amsterdam-- hasn't been brought to life (in English, anyway) in a feature film since Robert Altman's underappreciated Vincent and Theo (1990), starring Tim Roth. Vincente Minnelli's 1956 Lust for Life memorably starred Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh; Anthony Quinn won the supporting actor Oscar as Paul Gauguin. Australian Paul Cox also directed a 1987 documentary on the painter, featuring John Hurt reading his letters (clip below).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 27, 2011 6:34 AM
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Wickedly Talented Jeff Nichols' MUD: Witherspoon, McConaughey, Shannon, Shepard, Sheridan & More

In our interview with Michael Shannon he mentioned a possible cameo in Jeff Nichols' MUD, the third feature from the writer-director, whose first two films, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, star Shannon. "Wickedly talented," is how Shannon describes Nichols; "A throwback to the seventies [directors]…one of those guys who just kicks ass."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 27, 2011 6:00 AM
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Descendants, Clooney, Streep Top Gurus 'O Gold Oscar Rankings

Descendants, Clooney, Streep Top Gurus 'O Gold Oscar Rankings
The Gurus have spoken. Post-festivals, Alexander Payne's The Descendants (1) has taken over the frontrunner spot from Steven Spielberg's unscreened period war adventure War Horse (2). Interestingly, Spielberg was considering submitting the film to Venice but decided not to do so. He usually likes to wait until the last possible minute to show his films. It's better NOT to be at the head of the pack, anyway. The Descendants' George Clooney (1) is also at the front of the Best Actor race.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2011 5:10 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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