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Thompson on Hollywood

Should Universal Bet $200 Million on Branded Battleship?

Partly I blame the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise--based on Disney's e-ticket theme ride--for the current Hollywood mania for branding entertainment. If a title doesn't mean anything to anyone, the studios don't want to have to market something from scratch. They're allergic to it. Too much risk.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2010 11:39 AM
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Franzen's Freedom Hits Time, Bought by Rudin, Early Reviews

Jonathan Franzen's having a good week. Nine years in the making, his new novel Freedom: A Novel grabs rave reviews, the cover of Time ("The Great American Novelist") and is acquired by producer Scott Rudin (who bought his last book, National Book Award-winner The Corrections, which has yet to be turned into a movie; David Hare and Stephen Daldry were once attached).
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • August 13, 2010 11:32 AM
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Lionsgate, Roadside Pursue Dual Awards Track on Buried, Next Three Days, Biutiful

Lionsgate, Roadside Pursue Dual Awards Track on Buried, Next Three Days, Biutiful
Lionsgate is an indie with a taste for mainstream genre fare, but when a Crash or Precious comes along, the distrib knows what to do. This year, though, Lionsgate is adopting a different model that more resembles the studio approach: chase consumers first with such movies as Buried and The Next Three Days, Oscar voters later. And let your specialty subsidiary do the heavy-lifting in the art-film arena: Roadside Attractions is closing in on a deal to release Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful starring the incandescent Javier Bardem. Ironically, ex-Lionsgate exec Tom Ortenberg is in talks to steer the campaign (he's also masterminding the Apparition release of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2010 6:30 AM
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The Illusionist: Trailer and Early Reviews

The Illusionist: Trailer and Early Reviews
2-D lives! The Illusionist, the latest animated feature from the French animator behind The Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, didn't make it to Cannes after it scored big in Berlin in February. Sony Pictures Classics scooped up the film, which is based on an unproduced screenplay by the late great writer-director-star Jacques Tati about a "dying breed of entertainer." Chomet drew a tall, gangly, elegant character much like Tati's 50s persona in such films as Les Vacances de Mr. Hulot.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2010 4:36 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Relativity Media Firms Up Release Slate, Adds Three Pictures

Relativity Media is moving forward as Hollywood's newest distributor, finalizing its 2010-2011 release slate with a mix of Overture, Relativity and Rogue titles and a service deal.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2010 8:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film

Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film
Almost two years ago, Anne Thompson asked "Where have the manly movie stars gone?," and investigated the entertainment industry's ongoing search for traditional male leads that aren't borrowed from the UK, Australia or Europe to commandeer Hollywood's most testosterone-needy films. While America lays claim to the boy-men niche with the likes of Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Jake Gyllenhaal and any male in a Judd Apatow film, Hollywood's most- masculine male leads are more often than not played by foreigners; Christian Bale (a Brit) and Heath Ledger (an Aussie) were case-in-point as the stars of 2008's highest grossing film, The Dark Knight.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 12, 2010 8:28 AM
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  • 21 Comments

Jennifer Lawrence Builds Herself; New Hollywood Formula: Multiple Stars

-W Magazine's September issue features eight young actresses they call "The Brave Ones." The most notable is Winter's Bone 20-year-old breakout Jennifer Lawrence, who tells interviewer Lynn Hirschberg: "I don't feel young." Indeed, compared to her twenty-something peers, she seems wise beyond her years. The New Yorker's David Denby wrote that Sundance jury prize winner Winter's Bone "would be unimaginable with anyone less charismatic playing Ree…She’s more believable as a heroic character than any of the men we’ve seen peacocking through movies recently.” When teenage Lawrence was gunning for the lead role of Ree Dolly, the issue was that she was too pretty. She recalls flying the red-eye (which helped her to look more ragged) to New York to audition a second time: suddenly her prettiness wasn't an issue. She tells Hirschberg, “There are actresses who build themselves, and then there are actresses who are built by others...I want to build myself.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 12, 2010 5:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Ranking Stanley Kubrick: Top Ten Directors, Top Twenty Flickchart Movies

My most recent online time-waster (along with Flickchart) is Formspring, which asks you questions and posts your answers on various social media. For example, when asked to name my top ten directors of all time, I came up with this list:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2010 4:02 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Taymor's Tempest and Spider-Man Musical Both Open in December

Taymor's Tempest and Spider-Man Musical Both Open in December
Julie Taymor is cheering up these days. Her movie of Shakespeare's The Tempest--which had been in limbo at Miramax-- is now closing night at the Venice Film Fest (here's the new poster) and a centerpiece gala at New York, and is set to open December 10. Meanwhile her long-in-the-works Broadway musical Spider-Man finally has an opening date: December 21.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2010 12:54 PM
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  • 1 Comment

AMC Adds New Crime Series to Strong Line-Up

AMC, with 26 Emmy nominations, continues to bolster its strong line-up--led by Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Rubicon and the upcoming The Walking Dead---by adding a new series. Wednesday the cabler green-lit 13 new one-hour episodes from Fox and exec producer and showrunner Veena Sud (Cold Case) of crime drama The Killing (which will be retitled). The pilot, directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster), was based on producer Mikkel Bondesen's hit Danish procedural Forbrydelsen.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2010 12:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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