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Thompson on Hollywood

Comic-Con: Cameron Wows with Avatar

Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman came down to San Diego to intro James Cameron, who in turn presented 24 minutes of footage from Avatar. The studio has backed Cameron's R & D for the dozen years since Titanic. After earning credibility with the deep sea documentary world with a series of 3D docs, Cameron finally opted to chase the promise of advanced 3-D motion-capture with an original story that had been sitting in his drawer for 14 years. But no matter how fabulous this movie looks--and it wowed Hall H, the perfect target audience for a sci-fi adventure--Fox has to market this movie without major stars, branding and the kind of wide release a blockbuster usually commands. That's why they're showing 15 minutes of footage, free, on Avatar Day on August 21 on 35 IMAX theaters around the world.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2009 3:11 AM
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Comic-Con: Twilight: New Moon Press Conference

About 600 people camped overnight to get into the Twilight: New Moon panel, which started at 1:45 PM in Hall H. Some came from as far away as the Philippines. But first there was a press conference at the Biltmore Hilton adjacent to the gigantic blocks long convention enter, which at 9 Thursday morning was already a sea of jostling people.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 23, 2009 6:17 AM
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#SDCC Looks: Iron Man 2, Whiteout, Nightmare on Elm Street

As I head to San Diego for my umpteenth Comic-Con, I feel equal parts anticipation and dread. It's fun and I'll learn a lot that I want to know--but it's exhausting, large-crowd, insane circus fun.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 6:36 AM
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Trailer Watch: Alice in Wonderland Heads for #SDCC

You have to hand it to Tim Burton. As crazy awful as Hollywood can be, this canny visual stylist somehow manages to hang onto his imagination and personal imprint while navigating the studio system with aplomb. And most of his films--even art-house opera Sweeney Todd--are accessibly commercial. (Next up: a remake of my fave childhood vampire soap opera, Dark Shadows.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 3:08 AM
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Risky Business: Comic-Con Comes of Age

Post-Twilight, Comic-Con comes of age. And yet, it can be risky to chase after that fan buzz. Memorable duds in Hall H include The Spirit and Zathura. When a movie isn't working, the fans sniff it out. But when it does--300 and Superman Returns are vivid examples--they turn up to see the movie in droves. How it plays in theaters is another matter. Watchmen was a hit in Hall H last year--but the good buzz didn't guarantee a wide appeal commercial movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 21, 2009 6:45 AM
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#SDCC: Pattinson Will Do Comic-Con Twilight: New Moon Press Conference

While Twilight star Rob Pattinson will not do backstage press interviews at Comic-Con this week for New Moon, he and co-stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner will participate in an off-site press conference in San Diego early Thursday morning. That's how Summit is handling huge demand for the film's stars, who will also attend a Hall H panel later Thursday afternoon at the San Diego Convention Center. Fans are expected to line up overnight to gain entrance to that panel.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 20, 2009 6:56 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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Blog Watch: Hudson Leaves IFC

David Hudson is departing his daily obsessive IFC blog. This leaves a hole, especially at film fests, when he'd aggregate all the best reviews on any given film. (He used to write the GreenCine daily blog). But he's planning something and it makes sense that the brainy Berlin-based blogger and cinephile wouldn't want to do that forever. All best to him. I feel the online cinelandscape shifting. So does IndieWire's Eugene Hernandez.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 30, 2009 2:29 AM
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LAFF: Fest Wrap

Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson and new LAFF director Rebecca Yeldham were heaving sighs of relief at the sunny awards brunch at the Hammer Museum Sunday. While official figures are not in, sales of festival passes were down at this year's LAFF, but day-to-day ticket sales were brisk, with many sell-outs, Hudson said. While the various jury and audience award winners are listed on the jump, the real winners of the 10-day fest were the movies that picked up attention and possible distribution.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 28, 2009 2:34 AM
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