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Confessions of Conan the Barbarian Writer, Dark Knight Leaves Pittsburgh, Universal Drops Ouija

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood August 24, 2011 at 8:11AM

Christopher Nolan has wrapped filming on The Dark Knight Rises in Pittsburgh; he still has more principal photography in New York and Los Angeles. The film opens July 20, 2012.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Christopher Nolan has wrapped filming on The Dark Knight Rises in Pittsburgh; he still has more principal photography in New York and Los Angeles. The film opens July 20, 2012.

Universal has dropped its Ouija movie, just a few weeks after it ditched plans to remake the Hasbro board game, Clue, into another movie. The Ouija adaptation was meant to be produced by Michael Bay. Maybe they're backing off big-budget game adaptations based on their would-be 2012 tentpole Battleship?

Deadline published a rather sweet letter from one of the four credited screenwriters on the remake of Conan the Barbarian, partially posted below, which answers the question: “What’s it like to have your film flop at the box office? Don’t they know how bad it is before it comes out?”:

When you work “above the line” on a movie (writer, director, actor, producer, etc.) watching it flop at the box office is devastating. I had such an experience during the opening weekend of Conan the Barbarian 3D.

A movie’s opening day is analogous to a political election night…One joins a movie production, the same way one might join a campaign, years before the actual release/election, and in the beginning one is filled with hope, enthusiasm and belief. I joined the Conan team, having loved the character in comic books and the stories of Robert E. Howard, filled with the same kind of raw energy and drive that one needs in politics.

You hope that advertising and word of mouth will improve the numbers, and even as the numbers get tighter and the omens get darker, you keep telling yourself that things will turn around, that your guy will surprise the experts and pollsters. You stay optimistic. You begin selectively ignoring bad news and highlighting the good. You make the best of it. You believe.

You tell yourself to just enjoy the process. That whether you succeed or fail, win or lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Studios, Daily Read, Summer, Chris Nolan, Batman, Remake, Action, Universal/Focus Features


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.