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Thompson on Hollywood

Development Watch: Actresses Vying for Dark Knight Rises, Movies We Want, Ten Screenwriters to Watch

- "Sometimes reading news about Hollywood’s development slate is almost as depressing as the front-page stories about the economy," says Movieline, so they have a list of upcoming films they "actually want to see." Their selection includes Alfonso Cuaron's still starless Gravity, Raymond Chandler's detective novel Trouble is my Business (Clive Owen has the rights), noir puppet film-for-adults The Happytime Murders (think Team America meets Se7en), Paul Verhoeven's erotic ghost story The Eternal, and Natalie Portman's raunchy comedy for women, BYO.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 17, 2010 6:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Scott Pilgrim vs. Universal and the Matrix

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's bottom line comes down to the same problem that has faced a long line of Universal projects. It was an indie movie that cost too much to be successful inside the studio paradigm and should have been produced and released on a smaller less ambitious scale at the studio's specialty division Focus Features, which could have nurtured it and sent it into the world on a more limited basis and built on the film's strong word-of-mouth from its narrow base. To them a $12 million gross would have been fine. To Universal, it's less than the film's marketing budget. (A funny mash-up of Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2010 11:37 AM
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  • 8 Comments

TIFF#: The Boys Are Back's Owen Goes Family

TIFF#: The Boys Are Back's Owen Goes Family
Everyone goes into Toronto with a schedule of films to watch. And that list changes with buzz. Some movies fall off due to bad WOM, while others become must-sees. IndieWIRE's in-progress critics' poll of 34 films is indicative of the movies that everyone went to see-- and the ones that nobody did.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2009 2:23 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Letter to the Studios: How Not to Market Adult Dramas

Here's the first of a series of pieces (which do not necessarily reflect my POV) by guest bloggers on various aspects of the entertainment industry. Now based in Nampa, Idaho, Mike Kaplan is a veteran filmmaker (Never Apologize) and marketer who has managed campaigns for Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Robert Altman (Short Cuts) among others. More recently, please note, Kaplan helped to introduce Clive Owen to American audiences with the sleeper hit Croupier and You'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Here's his argument for how the studios are killing adult dramas--through misguided marketing. Kaplan came up in a film industry that made producing and marketing films for grown-ups its first priority. That is no longer the case.
  • By Mike Kaplan
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  • August 5, 2009 9:34 AM
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  • 15 Comments

Duplicity: What Happened?

While a recession-fueled box office boom is lifting most boats, one notable exception is Tony Gilroy's Duplicity, which boasted the earmarks of a commercial Hollywood vehicle--big budget, exotic locations, thriller genre, two sexy movie stars--but may have been too costly for what was really a smart-house play. (It earned strong reviews, but only $27 million so far.) Part of the problem: Universal paid Julia Roberts $20 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 2, 2009 5:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Duplicity: Gilroy Reunites Roberts and Owen

Two or three things you should know about Tony Gilroy's new film Duplicity, which opens March 20:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2009 9:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Duplicity: Gilroy Directs Roberts and Owen

While Duplicity isn't as good as Michael Clayton, you can tell that it comes from the mind of Tony Gilroy. According to his recent profile in The New Yorker, he's a man who likes to surprise. Gilroy reminds me of Steven Soderbergh: he's trying to outsmart audience expectations so much that he sometimes outsmarts himself. (It makes sense that he wrote the Bourne series.) Clayton was warmed up by the charisma of George Clooney, as well as the whip-cracking brilliance of British actor Tom Wilkinson, who goes up against the great Paul Giamatti in Duplicity. The plot of this gorgeous and sexy character-based heist thriller twists and turns--revealing new information via two time-frames-- at a globe-trotting clip. This film is colder, brainier, and more schematic than Clayton, and less than romantic, which may disappoint women starved for mature relationship movies. Here's Variety's review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2009 8:54 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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