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Thompson on Hollywood

Disney D23 Expo Takes You Behind Scenes of Brave, Muppets, Avengers, John Carter, Oz, Frankenweenie

Deploying some marketing muscle, Disney is mounting D23 Expo from August 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland. Disney marketeers will take fans behind the scenes, offer sneaks peaks, panels, special appearances and exhibitions on their upcoming projects, including Disney's The Muppets, Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, Oz: The Great and Powerful and John Carter, Pixar's Brave, and Marvel's The Avengers. Five sessions will be dedicated to Pixar, including one on the art of Brave and another on the characters of Monsters University.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2011 6:38 AM
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Video: New Dirty Dancing Director Ortega's Newsies with Singing, Dancing Christian Bale

As we reported Monday, Lionsgate is giving Dirty Dancing (1987) a makeover, directed by original choreographer Kenny Ortega. Lionsgate is revamping the classic after unsuccessfully releasing sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. The struggle here won't be to charge up teenage interest in the tale of teenage Baby’s forbidden romance with hip-swiveling Johnny Castle, packed with 60s classics from the original plus brand new compositions--just shove it down the willing throats of Glee, HSM and So You Think You Can Dance fans and the studio will make money. The struggle will be in creating a memorable film that has lasting powers of its own. Otherwise people will keep watching the original--nothing's stopping them so far. Do the math: Dirty Dancing was made for $6 million and brought in $213.95 million worldwide.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 9, 2011 6:14 AM
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Riding in Medusa with Bellflower Boys: Donuts, Flames, P-Diddy, The Apocalypse & Picking up Girls

Cruising Los Angeles in the Medusa with Bellflower stars Evan Glodell and Tyler Dawson, I learned: that the car was the prima donna on set, gas money came from P-Diddy, Doing Donuts (the "longest uninterrupted donut" in the car's history) in a Staples parking lot makes me nauseous, and the Medusa is more effective at intimidating folks and impressing young boys than picking up cute girls.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 9, 2011 3:00 AM
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Fest Update: J. Edgar, Margaret, Marigold Hotel To Skip Fall Fests, Twixt to Deauville

Fest Update: J. Edgar, Margaret, Marigold Hotel To Skip Fall Fests, Twixt to Deauville
Clint Eastwood's period biopic J. Edgar (November 9), starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the famed FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, is bypassing the fall fest circuit, according to the Toronto Star's Peter Howell. Eastwood and Warner Bros. decided to take the Lance Black-scripted film, which co-stars Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts and Josh Lucas, straight to the theaters and skip the two fests, which both showed Hereafter last year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 8, 2011 12:20 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Kenny Ortega to Direct Lionsgate Dirty Dancing Remake

We haven't heard too much of Kenny Ortega since This Is It, his 2009 Michael Jackson documentary, but Lionsgate announced today that it will be producing a remake of Dirty Dancing with Ortega at the helm.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • August 8, 2011 11:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Johnny Depp and Pirates Crew Reinvent Western Lone Ranger, Tonto

Now that Cowboys & Aliens can be viewed as a too-pricey western tentpole wannabe, how does Disney feel about Jerry Bruckheimer's Lone Ranger going into pre-production? They've ditched "the," and buttressed themselves from criticism by staffing up with their tried-and-true --but pricey-- Pirates gang, now that #4 yielded a satisfactory $1.03 billion worldwide and Johnny Depp is considered a major movie star. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio penned the script, rewritten by Justin Haythe. Gore Verbinski has worked with Depp four times, including the modestly successful but costly animated western Rango ($242.8 million worldwide to date). And what marquee loyalty does Depp command when he's not Jack Sparrow? Neither Sweeney Todd nor The Tourist was a slamdunk, topping out at $153.3 million and $278.7 million (mostly foreign) worldwide, respectively.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 8, 2011 10:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Hunger Games Franchise Wasting No Time: Sequel Catching Fire Coming Thanksgiving 2013, Pics

The second installment of The Hunger Games franchise (the first of which is currently shooting with director Gary Ross, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson and many others), Catching Fire, will be released by Lionsgate November 22, 2013.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 7:08 AM
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The Help Reviews: Southern Sass, Avoiding the Sociological Minefield, Davis and Spencer Shine

The Help, based on Kathryn Sockett's 2009 novel, is finally landing some better reviews (below) that should help quell some of the controversy over the insider's look at black maids in 1960s Mississippi--told from a white woman's perspective. The reviews had been held back under an embargo, leaving Disney's NYT Sunday ad for the film packed with soft quotes from the likes of Rex Reed and Jeff Craig. Caryn James says the film improves on the book, despite having no artistic ambitions.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 6:35 AM
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Los Angeles Screenplay Competition: Deadline August 15

The deadline for the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition is August 15. The mission of the competition is "to find high quality screenplays" that can be produced and screenwriters who can be contracted to write new screenplays. President of of the LA Screenplay Competition, Rafael Primorac, has brought such low-budget B-fare as Game of Death (starring Wesley Snipes), Giallo (Adrien Brody, pictured) and Mysteria (Danny Glover, Billy Zane) to the big screen and is looking for his next projects. You can find more information and enter the competition here.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 6:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Learn, Move, Eat: Three Short Films to Make You Wish You Didn't Have To Work

Hungry? You will be after watching this short film, "Eat," one of a series also including "Move" and "Learn," made by Rick Mereki, Tim White and Andrew Lees (shot in 44 days, 11 countries, across 38,000 miles, by way of 18 flights). Lucky boys. [via BrainPickings] EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 5:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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