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Sweeney Todd Opens in 5th Place

Sweeney Todd opened to excellent reviews (87% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com) and strong initial numbers on Friday, but the movie dropped an estimated 28 % (actually 25%) between Friday and Saturday. (Here's Sunday's Variety weekend boxoffice report.) This indicates that many viewers were lured by Paramount's mainstream horror-driven ad campaign, which did not sell the film as a Stephen Sondheim musical, and walked away disappointed. (The company also seeded the internet with clips showing the musical numbers.) Selling a unique movie like this, where there is no tried-and-true pattern to follow, is admittedly tricky. So Paramount made the call to go wide with 1200 runs--and not build the movie from fewer runs in sophisticated urban markets. It now looks like Dreamworks' initial strategy might have been the right way to go. That way early adopters would spread good word and build an audience slowly over time, rather than folks being lured into seeing a movie that they wind up not liking--and spreading bad word.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2007 7:56 AM
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Oscar Watch: Juno

Various Oscar prognosticators suggest that Juno is too much of a teen flick to play to senior Academy voters. Judging from how the pic performed at my class this week, which reps the older demo quite well, that will not be an issue. This movie will build into a huge hit across many demos. Imagine that I served up one serious fall film after another to the class, from Michael Clayton, Reservation Road, Slipstream, Grace is Gone, Lions for Lambs, and The Kite Runner to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly...and then they got Juno.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2007 5:51 AM
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Sweeney Todd Reactions

DreamWorks has been holding Sweeney Todd back. Well, they finally screened it last week, and elicited "non-reviews" from the Internet folks. The two trades are sufficiently alarmed by all this activity to consider running their reviews sooner rather than later, I hear.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2007 6:03 AM
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There Will Be Blood: Early Reviews

Variety's Todd McCarthy delivers a rave review of Paul Thomas Anderson's much-anticipated There Will Be Blood. We saw it at the same screening on Friday last week. McCarthy wanted to take his time with this review, and not rush it out the door. Here's a sample:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 1, 2007 5:51 AM
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Michael Clayton's Boxoffice and George Clooney's Stardom

Reading this thread on Hollywood Elsewhere responding to Kim Masters' Slate story on George Clooney and the boxoffice fate of Michael Clayton depressed me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 18, 2007 6:41 AM
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Stardust Stirs Memories of Princess Bride

[Posted by Peter Debruge]Box office predictors are crying doom and gloom for Stardust (some suggest the weekend total will be as low as $15 million off 2,540 situations), and I’m inclined to believe them. Nobody seems to like the Stardust trailers — no argument here (judge for yourself). (The reviews are fine: 73 % fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.) It’s a shame, really, given how original the film is, but how do you sell it?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 10, 2007 9:23 AM
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Simpsons Movie: Groening and Brooks Do Rose

This weekend I caught up with Charlie Rose's conversation with Matt Groening and Jim Brooks, both of whom are among the smartest and funniest people I have gotten to know in Hollywood. Brooks insists upon high standards. He's a guy who observes, analyzes, improves. What The Simpsons has done, as the longest running TV show and now a movie, is pretty amazing. (Like many Angelinos, I TiVo Charlie Rose and watch the shows that appeal to me.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 6, 2007 9:36 AM
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Transformers: LAFF Premiere

Transformers took over Westwood last night, playing on multiple screens with crowds jamming Broxton Avenue will-call tables and an after-party on the street.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 28, 2007 6:26 AM
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Disturbia's LaBeouf Hits Big

The sign of a rising movie star is a little movie that unexpectedly opens big on mixed reviews. (Disturbia rated a 62 from ">Metacritic.) With Shia LaBeouf and Disturbia, some of the credit for a $23 million opening goes to a well-mounted thriller hitting at just the right time. (There's a reason studios love to do genre remakes for young audiences: they don't know the difference between the technologically enhanced new model and the superior original, in this case, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2007 4:59 AM
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Movie City News Measures Star Boxoffice Muscle

At Premiere we polled the industry for weeks to figure out our power 100. I'm sure MCN Webmaster David Poland has a lot of expert sources, but this list is misguided, I think. There's a difference between a molehill of stars who can open a picture and have some clout overseas, and a mountain of various supporting actors and leading men and women who don't have real marquee appeal unless they turn up in something everyone wants to see.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 13, 2007 5:03 AM
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