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Thompson on Hollywood

Awards buzz, Indie News, Disney Confab

In Indie news, despite Inglourious Basterds' rousing start, the Weinsteins aren't out of the woods. They weren't taking any chances. They upped their media spend by several millions in the week before the opening, targeting their weakest link, women. It worked. The WSJ explains why the Weinsteins face a long road ahead.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 25, 2009 4:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Opens Strong

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Opens Strong
Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds opened strong Friday night, raking in an estimated $14.3 million. (We'll see how it holds.) Reviews were mixed, 69 on Metacritic. Richard Corliss, Roger Ebert and Jim Hoberman were thumbs up on this cinephile's fantasy, while Ken Turan, David Denby and Manohla Dargis were thumbs down on the slow-paced, often ridiculous alternative take on history. Here's New Yorker blogger Richard Brody and LA Weekly's Tarantino Q & A.. UPDATE: Looks like a $37-million opening, and great opening overseas, too. The film performed similarly to last weekend's District 9.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2009 2:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekend B.O., District 9 No. One, Rise of Streep, Fall of G.I. Joe

Sony marketing took rookie Neill Blomkamp's $30-million VFX thriller to a terrific estimated $37 million--it wasn't the stunning reviews alone. All the Comic-Con raves and critics and folks on twitter and facebook had a viral impact. The R-rated sci-fi thriller opened well to its largely male base. A sustained hold will require other audience segments to come in--and I just don't know how this plays for women. They went to see The Time Traveler's Wife this weekend, which nabbed lousy reviews and came in at a solid $19 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2009 8:54 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Woodstock Now & Then, Mad Men Ads, Journalism Online, Shah Rukh Khan

The U.S. treatment of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan stirs up a ruckus back in India. Shalini Dore and Jon Brooks explain.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo
I've been spending a lot of time with John Lasseter lately. In May, the Disney/Pixar animation chief brought Up to open the Cannes Film Fest, where animator Pete Docter got the full auteur treatment. Then Lasseter brought Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki, who he says had a huge influence on Up, to do a U.S. tour to support his latest, Ponyo, from closing night June 28 of the Los Angeles Film Festival and accepting an award at Berkeley to July's Comic-Con and a full-scale Academy tribute.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2009 10:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys
Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2009 7:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit
Universal execs are heaving a huge sigh of relief with the $23.5 million estimated opening weekend for Judd Apatow's edgy comedy Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. The movie scored mixed reviews and played best for men. Women hated it . It's a pity that the studio wasn't able to help Apatow whip his sprawling two and half hour comedy into submission. The movie was ambitious, brilliant, dark and out of control, and I suspect the box office will fall steeply on word-of-mouth.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2009 7:25 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker
Summit picked up Kathryn Bigelow's riveting, intense Iraq thriller The Hurt Locker out of Toronto, where I interviewed the director at the start of her long road to the Oscars (below). Jeremy Renner breaks out with this movie, which drew raves when it opened June 26 in limited release. Finally, The Hurt Locker didn't need ten best picture slots this year: the movie overcame considerable obstacles en route to landing on many critics' ten-best lists and winning one award after another.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 8:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Whip It: Angry Women Make Potent Box Office

On its surface, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut Whip It looks like a Fast & Furious-style look at an exotic world we don't know much about: roller derbies. The film opens in October and stars Barrymore and Juno star Ellen Page as a rebellious, angry teen roller derby contestant.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 8:09 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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