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Kathleen Kennedy Joins Lucasfilm as Co-Chair, In Line to Take Over When Lucas Moves On

George Lucas has been running his Bay area Lucasfilm empire, which includes not only his production company but VFX house Industrial Light and Magic, post-production facility Skywalker Sound, LucasArts Games and all the various publishing and television/video spin-offs that the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises have spawned, for some 30 years. In other words it's a huge enterprise to manage, and finally, Lucas has come up with an exit strategy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 1, 2012 2:33 PM
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Trailer Watch: George Lucas's World War II Aerial Ballet Red Tails Debuts January 20

We've been waiting a while for producer George Lucas's take on the World War II Tuskegee airmen, now set for release by Twentieth Century Fox on January 20, 2012. Anthony Hemingway (Treme, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica) directs a script by John Ridley (Three Kings) and a sprawling ensemble led by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Andre Royo (The Wire). Produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson, the film boasts a score by frequent Spike Lee composer Terence Blanchard.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2011 8:29 AM
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News Wrap: Hamm Talks Mad Men, Hanks Releases New Larry Crowne Trailer, In Talks with Zemeckis

“I think it should end. Everything should end.” So states Mad Men star Jon Hamm in this interview with the BBC, during which he also criticized AMC studio bosses for the hold up of Mad Men’s fifth season: “When billionaires fight it tends to take a lot longer than when normal people do."
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • June 13, 2011 5:35 AM
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Academy Presents 30th Anniversary Digital Screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark June 17 (UPDATE)

It's hard to believe that I sat in a screening room at Paramount's New York headquarters 30 years ago to watch Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark. Needless to say, it blew my head off. I made my first trip to the west coast to interview producer George Lucas at his Lucasfilm headquarters in Marin, California, for Film Comment Magazine (the archives don't go back that far, alas). The Lawrence Kasdan/George Lucas/Steven Spielberg original turned into a blockbuster and spawned a franchise. The concept of remaking a 40s adventure serial was novel; so was producing an action-packed period romantic comedy (with 6,000 live reptiles). And Harrison Ford nailed Indiana Jones, needless to say.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 10, 2011 8:31 AM
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CinemaCon Update: James Cameron, George Lucas, Jeff Katzenberg Talk Cinema's Digital Future

Stunts, legendary studio executives and name auteurs with an eye on the digital future were de rigueur during Wednesday’s CinemaCon. Anthony D'Alessandro digests the latest news from Las Vegas. In a CinemaCon 3-D powwow with directors George Lucas, James Cameron and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, the trio continued to tub-thump the visual format, while warning attendees that 3-D shouldn’t be used frivolously by the studios to pad grosses. Cameron soapboxed the same philosophy about wasteful 3-D pics that he has been vocalizing since last summer, when he attacked Weinstein Co.’s Piranha 3D. The Wrap reported Cameron's lament: “I’m concerned about things that erode the market. Bad 3-D is one of them.” Haste leads to waste, Katzenberg further pointed out, using Warner Bros.' last-minute transformation of Clash of the Titans as an example. Good 3-D transformations take from six to eight months, not weeks.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • March 31, 2011 5:31 AM
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Career Watch: Harrison Ford

Media folks reveling in the decline of Harrison Ford are missing the point. He was terrific in Morning Glory and he wasn't the star. Rachel McAdams has to take the bullet for not being a ready-for-prime-time player. Supporting actors Ford and Diane Keaton actually pulled in older moviegoers, where McAdams didn't score with her age demo. (WOM could still kick in. Yes, it's a familiar story, and it's no Broadcast News, but it's well-done.) And now that Ford, at age 68, is out of the running for those $20 million leads, he's free! He can do whatever he wants. He doesn't HAVE to carry studio tentpoles anymore. Here's a sample from my latest AOL Moviefone Career Watch column.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2010 8:53 AM
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#SXSW Wrap, Hits and Misses

#SXSW Wrap, Hits and Misses
Continuing to build its rep as a balmy spring destination for genre fans and cinephiles alike, the 17th South by Southwest Film Festival saw a strong turnout at films and panels appealing to young males and indie filmgoers, from opener Kick-Ass and stoner-comedy Leaves of Grass to the more finely calibrated critics' faves Tiny Furniture (which won the dramatic jury prize) and Cold Weather. Clearly, the fest hasn’t lost its indie cred, although a hardcore midnight screening of A Serbian Film tested the limits of many filmgoers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 23, 2010 2:04 AM
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Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?
One of the big questions this Oscar season surrounds the chances of such sci-fi genre fare as Avatar, Star Trek and District 9 to land on Oscar's best-picture Top Ten List. I dig into that question here and come up with some surprising answers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 7:30 AM
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Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass

Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass
I am surprised by the film industry and the media's continued willingness to give a free pass to entrepreneur Carlos de Abreu's Hollywood Film Festival, a cannily constructed facade which honors stars, filmmakers and craftspeople and lines the pockets of de Abreu.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 12:31 PM
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Cannes Watch: Indiana Jones

I saw it coming. Ever since Paramount announced that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would not screen for anyone before its May 18 unveiling at Cannes (in advance of its worldwide launch May 22), I felt that Spielberg and Co. might be setting themselves up. The anticipation of this film is too great, the pressure for information is wrecking havoc on the internet. As the NYT reports, several exhibitor screenings have added to the din surrounding this film. So far the PR strategy has been to dole out interviews to press who have not yet seen it; Vanity Fair, EW, the LAT and others have played ball.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 12, 2008 4:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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