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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Box Office: Paranormal Activity 2 Scares Up $41.5 million, Hereafter Delivers Decent Bow

Paranormal Activity 2 outperformed expectations with a jaw-dropping $41.5 million estimated opening weekend, thanks to Paramount's innovative interactive marketing campaign (see spot below). The studio held the top two spots with the horror sequel and Jackass 3D, Anthony D'Alessandro reports. In fact, with less product clogging multiplexes, films with strong WOM are holding better than ever, from Secretariat to The Social Network. (Here's IW's indie b.o. report.)Paranormal Activity 2 conjured up masses of moviegoers this weekend: the Paramount horror-thriller howled a hearty $41.5 million at 3,216 sites, a marvelous opening that outstrips the $30-million bows of several Saw chapters and marks a record for a horror film, outstripping the $40.6 million minted by 2009’sFriday the 13th reboot. Overseas, the sequel also pulled in $22 million in 21 territories. As anticipated heading into the weekend, Paramount delivered a double whammy, as it grabbed the No. 2 spot with holdover Jackass 3D, firing up a solid $21.6 million, off 57% -- a typical drop for guy fare.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 24, 2010 4:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Di Bonaventura Sees Old People; Scores with Red

Di Bonaventura Sees Old People; Scores with Red
The beauty of success in the movie industry is that it often comes to people who zig when others zag, who have the balls to call something and fight for it. Recession times don't encourage risk-taking, so I am happy to report that producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has not given up the maverick streak encouraged by his bosses during his glory days running production at Warner Bros. (Training Day, Three Kings, The Matrix). Now a heavyweight producer at Paramount, Di Bonaventura (Transformers, Salt) saw the potential in the dark DC graphic novel Red--about a CIA agent who fights against the dying of the light the only way he knows how--and kept pushing to get it made. That involved trying and failing to get Warners (which has a deal with DC) to back it, extricating the title from DC and finding another financeer, which turned out to be Summit, whose production chief Eric Feig, another smart cookie, saw the gold in Twilight early on, and saw it in Red too.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2010 3:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments

David Poland vs. TOH

Monday, The Hot Blog's David Poland took off after me without realizing at first that the story that so enraged him was written by ex-Variety box-office analyst Anthony D'Alessandro. And both stories he pops off about, my rather sober analysis of what went wrong with Tamara Drewe and D'Alessandro's take on the poor performance of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, are among TOH's most popular, sparking healthy debate.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2010 7:46 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Paranormal Activity 2 Spoof: Scarier Than A Demon? A Damon!

Thank Funny or Die for providing more entertainment (for free) in under three minutes than Paranormal Activity 2 will slow-drip into your system in over an hour. The first of their two trailers (below, here's the official trailer) warns of something worse than a demon - a Damon! Complete with complex math skills! The second just tries to tell the truth.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2010 4:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Names That Command the Moviesphere: Cameron Talks Avatar Sequels, True Lies, Cleopatra

If you run a movie site that seeks to service readers --and build traffic--then you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know what works. Certain names, stars, projects have heat. When you write about James Cameron, David Fincher, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, franchises like Avatar, Inception, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Bourne, Twilight or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish or American), or hot films like The Social Network (or Mark Zuckerberg), they will come. And despite David Poland's sloppy rant about headlines with numbers in them, guess what? They pull more readers: folks love races, contests, drama, debates, polls, controversy, exclusives (which is why the word is so rampantly abused--there's a difference between a one-on-one interview and an exclusive) and yes, lists.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2010 4:19 AM
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Roadside Picks Up Hemingway's Garden of Eden, Starring Suvari, Huston

A movie based on Ernest Hemingway's second posthumously published novel, The Garden of Eden, will hit theaters on December 10, via Roadside Attractions. Adapted by James Scott Linville from the controversial edit of the unfinished novel (published in 1986), Hemingway's Garden of Eden is directed by John Irvin and stars Mena Suvari (American Beauty) and Jack Huston (grandson of director John) as a jazz age couple on their honeymoon in Europe, as the increasingly restless new bride questions and tests her husband's love. Caterina Murino, Richard E. Grant, Matthew Modine and Carmen Maura also star in the 1920s romance.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 19, 2010 8:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Palm Springs, Santa Barbara Fests Push Oscar Hopefuls Like Mulligan, Franco

Oscar Watch: Palm Springs, Santa Barbara Fests Push Oscar Hopefuls Like Mulligan, Franco
It isn't news that Oscar campaigners take advantage of fall film fests in L.A. and NY that are designed to draw awards attention. MCN's David Poland rants about con-man Carlos Abreu's bogus Hollywood Film Festival (which I refuse to take seriously) and IFP's Gotham Awards, which are far more legitimate in that they are designed to put the spotlight on indie films. Any fest that boosts Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture or Let Me In is fine by me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2010 7:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Recycling at the Cinema: True Grit, The Great Gatsby and RED

We all know recycling is good for the planet, but is it good for cinema? Consider three old-is-new retreads: a western remake, a 1920s period piece and a contemporary action flick. True Grit is a remake of a 1969 John Wayne film which was adapted from a novelization of a Charles Portis 1968 serial which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. The Great Gatsby started as a lauded 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel which became a film in 1926 and again in 1949 and 1974. Even comedy hit RED, although it is not based on a book or an old movie, still exists--argues Movie City News--due to recycling of the DC graphic novel's plot and characters. There's nothing new here: movies have been adapting popular fiction for as long as they've been around. What's horrifying is Hollywood's current aversion to anything original.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 19, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Five Things that Went Wrong with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Five Things that Went Wrong with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
As a reminder that a strong opening does not always a winning movie make, Twentieth Century Fox is looking at some red ink on the fall sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. This is not necessarily good news for the future of studio adult dramas. Anthony D'Alessandro reports: While Oliver Stone scored his biggest opening ever at $19 million, glossy sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps wound up being more of a bear than a bull at the domestic box office with $47.9 million, coming out slightly ahead of the 1987 original's $43.8 million gross. Inside the average range for a Stone title, it's Shia LaBeouf’s lowest-grossing live-action wide release since his christening as a marquee draw with 2007’s Disturbia. The biggest hurdle for Wall Street 2: it was a sequel to a 23-year old adult drama, not a mass-audience franchise such as Rocky or Star Wars. Even if it was timely, its B.O. prospects were limited from the start. Here are five reasons why Wall Street 2’s stock fell:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 18, 2010 10:15 AM
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  • 17 Comments

For Colored Girls Living Portraits Gallery

For Colored Girls star Janet Jackson is hosting Tim Palen's "Living Portraits" opening night event at Manhattan's Lehman Maupin gallery on October 24. The 35mm series features the eight stars of For Colored Girls: Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerri Washington, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad. Palen, in addition to being Liongate's marketing chief, is a respected photographer who directed Jackson in her "Nothing" music video (Why Did I Get Married Too).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 18, 2010 9:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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