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Thompson on Hollywood

Public Enemies: Goldenthal Returns to Studio Score

The only Oscar I ever held belonged to Elliot Goldenthal, who won for his diverse, Mexican-tinged score for partner Julie Taymor's Frida. The New York couple (together since 1984) are equally serious about opera, film and musical theater, which all demand very different skill sets.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 6:30 AM
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#SDCC: Directors Visit Comic-Con for First Time

Comic-Con 2009 is front-loaded. Most of the key movie stuff happens on the first day, Thursday July 23, and Friday, with Iron Man 2 the main play on Saturday. (Here's the EW Iron Man 2 cover-preview.) The trick is to balance the crowded Hall H panels, trawling the exhibition floor, backstage interviews, screenings and parties with actual blogging. Yikes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 15, 2009 2:14 AM
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#SDCC Comic-Con Separates Top Draws Avatar and Twilight: New Moon

Last year, I remember a few diehard fanboys mocking me when I flagged Twilight as a big deal at Comic-Con. The power of Twilight fans became clear as thousands of girls screamed their lungs out for emerging star Rob Pattinson. Helping to avert certain traffic gridlock, Comic-Con organizers pushed apart back-to-back Thursday panels for Twilight: New Moon and James Cameron's Avatar, by far the most anticipated two panels of the Con. Many were concerned that the threatened tsunami of fans surging toward Hall H Thursday morning (many of them female, in this very male-dominated universe) would make it tough to also cover Disney's 11 AM 3-D panel (Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol, Burton's Alice in Wonderland) and James Cameron's Avatar on the same day. Now New Moon is at 1:45 pm and Avatar is at 3:00 pm. Covering media may have a tough time getting into New Moon without some kind of press pass.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 10, 2009 5:59 AM
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Transformers: ROTF Passes $300 Million

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has passed the $300 million in 14 days. The sequel is so hugely successful that it encourages the studios to keep pursuing the same dispiriting tentpole dream. It's not a question of Michael Bay being a crap director. He's clearly in the zone of knowing what audiences want to see. I just worry that the studios will neglect creating original franchises in the first place, which demand creativity and imagination.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2009 8:16 AM
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Paramount Scores Orci and Kurtzman Project

It's not surprising that new Paramount production head Adam Goodman took advantage of his DreamWorks insider status and nabbed a high-profile project, License to Steal, from the super-hot screenwriter-producing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. This buy of an overtly commercial Salon feature about globe-trotting Repo men chasing luxury planes and boats was pursued by several top directors and producers. It signals that an inside-Hollywood pro is back in charge, and the once-quiet studio is back in buying mode. When Paramount put into turnaround projects such as John Carter of Mars and Twilight , that sent another signal: the studio didn't recognize potential franchises.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:43 AM
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Six Lessons of Summer Box Office

First the media touted the uptick in 2009 theatrical business, now they're pointing to a downturn compared to last summer's b.o., a few big flops and the absence of blockbusters. "Through Sunday, summer B.O. revs stood at $1.46 billion, compared to $1.47 billion last year," reports Variety.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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Transformers' LaBoeuf: Troubled Star

What a difference two years makes. The picture on left of Shia LaBeouf ran in Parade Magazine when Disturbia made him into a star. The photo on the right ran this week in Parade in advance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Here's http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940483.html?categoryid=31&cs=1">Variety's review.) We all know that talent is only one component of a long and happy career. Stability is another. Or to put it another way, sometimes the sensitive tuning rod that is essential to a working actor's skill set isn't screwed on tight enough. LaBeouf speaks frankly about his demons. I wish him well in dealing with them.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 7:16 AM
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Kevin Smith Talks Superman

For those of you who missed this chestnut---it was posted on YouTube in 2006--Kevin Smith spent twenty minutes on one of his lecture tours explaining what really happened back in 1996/1997 when Warner Bros. and producer Jon Peters (always entertaining fodder) hired him to write Superman. As long as the Superman franchise seems to be betwixt and between, why not take a gander at what Smith had in mind? At any rate, Smith is nothing if not an engaging storyteller, and he's got this one down.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2009 6:57 AM
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Wolverine: Multiple Endings

Magazine editors know that movie fans will buy multiple collectible covers. On that principle, Marvel has added different endings at the end of the credits to Wolverine so that fans will sample all the versions of the film, director Gavin Hood told one L.A. press screening on Friday night, reports Alex Billington of First Showing. UPDATE: Make that two endings.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 25, 2009 7:44 AM
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Weekend Update: Watchmen Opening Not So Big; Kubrick's Tenth; Obama Gives Brown DVDs

While Watchmen delivered a robust opening of about $55.7 million in North America, it came in lower than expectations--and much lower than Snyder's last film, the blockbuster 300--both domestically and overseas. Finally, Watchmen works best as the narratively complex, visually dazzling comics series from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Originally published in 1986, the graphic novel is flying off the shelves. I hope people do read the book, which instantly draws you in with its compelling, never confusing storytelling, deepening and peeling new layers as it goes. The movie, on the other hand, is hard to fathom, boasts too many characters, and doesn't add up to much. Set in the 80s, Zack Snyder's film deals with the Vietnam and Cold War, and the end of the world via nuclear attack, but supplies a new ending with strange shades of 9/11. Moore always did insist that his comics were unfilmable.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2009 5:26 AM
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