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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Box Office: Super 8 Pulls $38 Million, Beats X-Men: First Class for Number One Slot

Weekend Box Office: Super 8 Pulls $38 Million, Beats X-Men: First Class for Number One Slot
As Paramount labored to both downplay expectations and build up word-of-mouth via advance sneaks, Super 8 exceeded box office predictions and got off to a strong start. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Super 8’s projector bulbs burned brighter than expected as Paramount’s sci-fi drama bested its lowest box office estimates by 52% for a wondrous weekend estimate of $38 million. Concern that J.J. Abrams’ cinematic love letter to Steven Spielberg would bow to dismal results provoked Paramount to hammer the film’s critical acclaim into gold by unspooling the film on Thursday at 300-plus sites (including 239 IMAX hubs) via a Twitter promotion. One couldn't expect record grosses from a limited release: thus Thursday’s $1 million take amounted to cherries on Paramount’s sundae.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 12, 2011 4:52 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Morgan Freeman Is Bromanced by Eastwood, Poitier, McConaughey at 39th AFI Life Achievement Awards

The really good AFI tributes are the ones where there's warmth in the room for the tributee. Morgan Freeman, winner of the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award, is in that category.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 11, 2011 1:24 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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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Preview: Can the Fab Super 8 Beat Holdovers X-Men & The Hangover?

First, check out J.J. Abrams' Spielberg homage, Super 8: you'll have fun discussing it afterwards.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 10, 2011 6:34 AM
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Super 8 Inspires Cinephile Debate

Super 8 reviews are by no means uniformly positive. It is in fact inspiring considerable cinephile debate. While I am convinced that the movie will 1) please most fans 2) be a huge hit and 3) inspire a Spielberg lovefest at this point in his career, the issues raised by the film's detractors are worth considering.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 10, 2011 4:56 AM
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Spielberg & Abrams: Working Together On Super 8 Was "Crazy Good," What's Next

How was it working with Steven Spielberg on Super 8? "Crazy good," says director J.J. Abrams. "Working with Steven Spielberg was a dream, and I was kind of nervous about it because he was like a hero of mine since I was a kid." Will they work together again? Given how successful Super 8 should prove to be, their already longstanding relationship should continue. Back in February we listed 7 Reasons to be Excited About Super 8. They're still true, but the movie's even better than we'd hoped.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 9, 2011 8:17 AM
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Super 8 Reviews: "Early Spielberg Classic," Spielberg & Abrams "Spiritually Clash On-Screen" UPDATED

Super 8 Reviews: "Early Spielberg Classic," Spielberg & Abrams "Spiritually Clash On-Screen" UPDATED
I went in to see Super 8 with modest expectations. I kept waiting for the movie to derail and lose its footing at some point. That never happened. I was instantly caught up with this group of kids trying to shoot a movie (the final result unspools over the closing credits, so stick around) and then figure out what sort of thing escaped from a huge train wreck to devastate their town. The rules of this movie are strictly Spielberg sci-fi universe, circa 1979, which is a wonderful place to be.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 9, 2011 7:55 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Super 8 Q & A: Spielberg and Abrams Talk to EW About Growing Up, Obsessions, Their Inner Child

Writer-director J.J. Abrams was smart to pull Steven Spielberg in as a producer on PG-13 sci-fi adventure Super 8, set in 1979, which is the ultimate homage to the great Spielberg movies of the 70s and 80s, referencing Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and of course, E.T. Paramount understood that they were selling, in effect, a non-Spielberg Spielberg film. And the movie feels as comfortable as an old shirt: the second you enter this world, you know exactly what the rules are. As Abrams understood the DNA of the Star Trek universe, so he understands the kids at the core of Super 8, their relationship to their parents, their love of making movies, and each other. (Check out this six-minute MSN clip from the beginning of Super 8, and our collection of Super 8 early reviews.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 9, 2011 5:11 AM
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Possibilities: Witherspoon's Wedding Rom-Com, Aronofsky's Noah Epic, Poltergeist Eyes Lindsay-Abaire

- Reese Witherspoon may have redeemed herself at the MTV Movie Awards for How Do You Know by calling out Hollywood starlets and their poor self-marketing skills, but now she's producing a possible starring vehicle that is yet another wedding-themed rom-com, Who Invited Her?, at DreamWorks. Seriously, women will still buy movie tickets even if no one gets married at the end. Promise.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 8, 2011 10:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Super 8 Opening Projections Are Irrelevant; Word-of-Mouth Will Sell This Critics' Darling

Super 8 Opening Projections Are Irrelevant; Word-of-Mouth Will Sell This Critics' Darling
Having seen Super 8 Tuesday--it did not disappoint--I agree with box office analyst Anthony D'Alessandro's assertion that it doesn't matter if Super 8 opens soft. It's an original that plays like gangbusters and as such, the eventual returns will dwarf its opening this weekend, whatever it is. (This terrific unofficial fan poster evokes the spirit of one-sheet artist Drew Struzan of Lucas/Spielberg fame, who denies any authorship.)Super 8 has been driving Paramount and online movie sites super crazy. After word broke Monday evening  that advance tracking was soft on the J.J. Abrams-Steven Spielberg nostalgia-fest, the studio went into PR overdrive, clarifying projections. And in a final riposte to all box office naysayers, decided to offer Thursday sneak previews via Twitter in an effort to swell sales.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 8, 2011 7:21 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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