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Thompson on Hollywood

Sony 3D Promos At-Home 3D: At Expense of Theater Experience?

"I refuse to say the sky is falling," declared Sony chairman Amy Pascal, when I asked her about the grim summer box office so far. She was observing the Sony 3D show-and-tell Wednesday on the Sony lot. Clearly, not only is the studio earmarking a number of 3D features for 2010 and beyond--including Resident Evil Afterlife in 2011 and Spider-Man 4 and Men in Black III for 2012 (Will Smith putting on his shades takes on a new meaning), but the entire corporation is moving aggressively into the 3D space both at home (PS3, 3D games, Bravia HD 3D televisions, Blu-Ray 3D devices) and in theaters (see videos below and Sony News).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 10, 2010 2:10 AM
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Toy Story 3: Early Reviews and Featurette

Toy Story 3: Early Reviews and Featurette
I had lunch today with Matt Atchity, the LA-based editor-in-chief of critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which Flixster acquired from Fox/IGN in January. The marriage is a happy one--Flixster's mobile phone app and other efforts are tripling RT's traffic, which is back on the rise. The film that sat atop the site's review chart for years was Toy Story 2--until Man on Wire dethroned it. When it opens in June 18, will 3D Toy Story 3 wind up in the ranks of RT's top-rated--along with Pixar's unbroken string of ten rated-fresh blockbusters?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 8, 2010 9:35 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Summer Fizzle Leaves Shrek 4 On Top

Last weekend's horrific box office numbers continued into this weekend, which returned animated family film Shrek Forever After--in its third week--to the top of the fray, the only film to crack the $20-million mark! The lucrative summer season is when the studios send their surefire top guns to do battle. So far, the summer of 2010 is a fizzle. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 6, 2010 4:37 AM
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  • 5 Comments

DreamWorks' Katzenberg Packs Animated Pics with Celebs

James Sims reviews Nicole LaPorte's new book The Men Who Would Be King: An almost epic tale of moguls, movies, and a company called DreamWorks and agrees with me that of the founding troica, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, LaPorte gives the latter the worst appraisal of the three. While Katzenberg came off great just five years ago in James Stewart's book Disney War and in this year's hagiographic insider-documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty which covers the Katzenberg golden Disney years that yielded his career peak, the $700-million-grossing The Lion King, LaPorte and Sims are both more critical. Here's Sims:
  • By James Sims
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  • June 4, 2010 6:41 AM
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Cameron Weighs in on Oil Spill, Disney Sells Toy Story 3 Tickets on Facebook, Abrams' Secret Movie

- Nobody knows more about deep-sea robotic technology than filmmaker/tech head James Cameron, who has taken submersibles and his own robotic cameras down to the ocean floor to shoot documentaries on the Titanic and Bismarck. So it makes sense that he was part of a brainstorming session with U.S. officials, scientists and academics who are trying to come up with a solution to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since BP's efforts have failed, the Federal government is opening its ears to a wider knowledge database. The Huffington Post lists other parties involved in the session: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Oceanographic Institute at Harbor Branch, Florida Atlantic University; University of California at Santa Barbara; Nuytco Research Limited; World Wildlife Fund; and the University of California at Berkeley. Cameron likes nothing better than hanging with scientist brainiacs.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 2, 2010 7:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Pixar is Hiring

Are you a John Lasseter or Brad Bird wannabe? Check this out. The place I have always fantasized about working--assuming that I had the necessary skill-set, which I don't--is Pixar, in Emeryville, in the Bay Area. I actually applied for a long-shot marketing job there once. Not only do they make the best movies on the planet, year in year out--ten for ten blockbusters to date, and I'll lay odds that Toy Story 3 beats How to Train Your Dragon and takes this year's number one summer spot--but I've visited the campus, and it's fabulous. It's the kind of place where bicycles line the hallways and folks like Lasseter use their offices to display their toy collections. These people are not only seriously talented, but seriously cool.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 1, 2010 7:23 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Family-Friendly Shrek 4 Overtakes Wimpy Prince of Persia and Sex and the City 2

Holdover family film Shrek 4 carried the anemic four-day Memorial Day Weekend holiday; its estimated $55.7 million gross bested two weak openers in the high-to-low $37-million range, Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and R-rated Sex and the City 2, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 31, 2010 4:46 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Alice To Pass $1 Billion, Hollywood for Sale, Bale Talking Hillcoat Flick

-Disney's Alice in Wonderland will cross the $1 billion worldwide box-office threshold tomorrow, marking the sixth movie to do so and a record for a springtime release. With over $332 million domestic and $667 million foreign, Alice in Wonderland is Disney's second-highest grosser behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($1.07 billion worldwide).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 26, 2010 3:25 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Shrek 4 Stumbles, MacGruber Flops

In its fourth go-round, DreamWorks Animation's latest Shrek installment stumbled on its opening weekend, grossing an estimated $71.25 million, marking a probable end to the lucrative franchise. Anthony D'Alessandro does the numbers.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 23, 2010 4:32 AM
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Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir Follow-Up is The Congress, Starring Robin Wright

Ever since Ari Folman told me about adapting Stanislaw Lem's 1971 sci-fi novel The Futurological Congress, I've been excited by his central premise--which is not that of the novel-- of a gorgeous American actress on the cusp of losing her movie star luster who sells her likeness to Hollywood and can never work again. The Israeli/Polish/French co-production will mix present-day live action with an animated future, and take the character forward 20 years. He wanted to cast an actress who was willing to play herself in the role; he considered Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Jason Leigh and others. Robin Wright is a great choice.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 23, 2010 4:09 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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