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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Dealbook: Searchlight Lands Martha Marcy May Marlene, Magnolia/Participant Get Page One

During my panel today with Page One director Andrew Rossi and his star subject, NYT media columnist David Carr, at Sundance's Bing Bar on Main, a man came over and told me that Magnolia/Participant had acquired the film. So I broke the news to the press conference--if not in this blog. You can only do one thing at a time. On Saturday I had just told Participant's Jim Berk and Ricki Strauss how much I liked the doc, which I watched before the fest. They told me they were looking for movies to partner on. Participant effectively got word out to movie audiences on An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman through their activist outreach. This smart look at the ways technology and the internet are changing and threatening the New York Times, among other newspapers, will need help to break out beyond the narrow art-house niche. Magnolia plans a summer release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 10:36 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Anne Thompson's Final Predictions

Oscar Watch: Anne Thompson's Final Predictions
With the Oscar nominations arriving Tuesday morning--my analysis of which will arrive promptly--I herewith deliver my final picks in all categories, in alphabetical order. I'm going out on a limb by putting Winter's Bone in my top ten and omitting The Town, which I include in Best Adapted Screenplay, but not Winter's Bone. I ended up putting Burlesque into Best Costume, not Inception. And I stuck with Sam Rockwell (Conviction) and Jeremy Renner (The Town) in Supporting Actor over Andrew Garfield (The Social Network).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 9:15 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Interactive Academy Awards at Oscar.com

Oscar.com is pulling out all the stops with their online pre, during and post-Oscar coverage. Last week we looked at their "Road to the Oscars" and now they announce new online features that will give fans the chance to follow their favorite stars and get as much access as they can stomach to the show, behind-the-scenes and post-awards celebrations.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 8:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Sundance Dealbook: IFC Gets The Ledge, Searchlight Does Homework, Sundance Selects Adds Buck

Sundance Dealbook: IFC Gets The Ledge, Searchlight Does Homework, Sundance Selects Adds Buck
The Sundance deals continued to play out in a more active market. On Sunday Fox Searchlight picked up most worldwide rights (for $3 million) to rookie director Gavin Wiesen's high school romance Homework, starring Emma Roberts as a gorgeous girl who sees merit in lonely depressive Freddie Highmore. Produced by P. Jennifer Dana, Kara Baker, Gia Walsh and Darren Goldberg, the teen flick is set for 2011 release. The trades didn't go for it: here'sVariety and THR.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 6:28 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Tonino Guerra to Receive Writers Guild's Jean Renoir Screenwriting Award

The Writers Guild of America West will give Italian Tonino Guerra the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement by an international writer (given on an occasional basis). Guerra has written over 100 screenplays and is, states the Guild's Howard Rodman:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 24, 2011 6:26 AM
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Production Watch: Olsen's Red Lights, Cheadle in War Machine, Petunia Shoots in NYC

- Get her while she's hot. Sundance It-Girl (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Silent House) Elizabeth Olsen just joined Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy in Red Lights, from director Rodrigo Cortes (Buried). The non-twin Olsen sister tells Risky Business she found the thriller after reading "script after script after script." She will play Weaver's student: “Robert plays a world renowned psychic and Sigourney is a psychology professor…Cillian Murphy is my love interest, though that’s not a huge part of the story.” Olsen will take a break from NYU -- "my education is always a priority" -- to shoot Red Lights. The Psych major "find[s] mental illnesses fascinating."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 24, 2011 6:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Sundance Watch: Weinstein Co. Aggressively Acquires My Idiot Brother in Seller's Market

Buying at Sundance is a game of grabbing one title at a time: each distrib circles the hit titles, grabs one, and retires from the fray. (Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia IFC tend to have bigger appetites.) What buyers don't want in a heated bidding situation is to overpay for a weak title or wind up needing product and going home with nothing. Weinstein Co. did not land Margin Call (which went to Lionsgate/Roadside) or Like Crazy (which went to Paramount) or Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon, or Morgan Spurlock's The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which both went to Sony pre-fest. Sony saw the Spurlock doc before anyone had seen the completed picture--Sony saw the first hour of the film, says Spurlock. James Marsh's dramatic chimp doc Project Nim went to HBO before the fest, which is seeking a theatrical partner.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 12:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Sundance Panel: Martha Marcy May Marlene

One of the best-reviewed films at Sundance is Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene, starring one of several Sundance "it girls," Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman who is drawn into an isolated cult led by John Hawkes. Check out the press conference moderated by exec producer Ted Hope.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 10:05 AM
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IMDb Founder Col Needham Talks Sundance

IMDb founder Col Needham is a big film buff, and he takes his Sundance picks seriously. I caught him with the Flip Cam at the Eccles Saturday night:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 9:55 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Sundance Watch: Drake Doremus Talks Like Crazy Sale, Felicity Jones Breaks Out

The Sundance Fest's biggest sale so far is Like Crazy, the follow-up film from Drake Doremus, who showed Douchebag here last year. That movie was a minor improv road comedy of the Mumblecore variety. (Speaking of which, SXSW grad Joe Swanberg's first Sundance entry, Uncle Kent, has earned dismissive reviews here.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 8:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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