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Thompson on Hollywood

CinemaCon Update: James Cameron, George Lucas, Jeff Katzenberg Talk Cinema's Digital Future

CinemaCon Update: James Cameron, George Lucas, Jeff Katzenberg Talk Cinema's Digital Future
Stunts, legendary studio executives and name auteurs with an eye on the digital future were de rigueur during Wednesday’s CinemaCon. Anthony D'Alessandro digests the latest news from Las Vegas. In a CinemaCon 3-D powwow with directors George Lucas, James Cameron and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, the trio continued to tub-thump the visual format, while warning attendees that 3-D shouldn’t be used frivolously by the studios to pad grosses. Cameron soapboxed the same philosophy about wasteful 3-D pics that he has been vocalizing since last summer, when he attacked Weinstein Co.’s Piranha 3D. The Wrap reported Cameron's lament: “I’m concerned about things that erode the market. Bad 3-D is one of them.” Haste leads to waste, Katzenberg further pointed out, using Warner Bros.' last-minute transformation of Clash of the Titans as an example. Good 3-D transformations take from six to eight months, not weeks.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • March 31, 2011 5:31 AM
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Career Watch: Harrison Ford

Media folks reveling in the decline of Harrison Ford are missing the point. He was terrific in Morning Glory and he wasn't the star. Rachel McAdams has to take the bullet for not being a ready-for-prime-time player. Supporting actors Ford and Diane Keaton actually pulled in older moviegoers, where McAdams didn't score with her age demo. (WOM could still kick in. Yes, it's a familiar story, and it's no Broadcast News, but it's well-done.) And now that Ford, at age 68, is out of the running for those $20 million leads, he's free! He can do whatever he wants. He doesn't HAVE to carry studio tentpoles anymore. Here's a sample from my latest AOL Moviefone Career Watch column.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2010 8:53 AM
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#SXSW Wrap, Hits and Misses

#SXSW Wrap, Hits and Misses
Continuing to build its rep as a balmy spring destination for genre fans and cinephiles alike, the 17th South by Southwest Film Festival saw a strong turnout at films and panels appealing to young males and indie filmgoers, from opener Kick-Ass and stoner-comedy Leaves of Grass to the more finely calibrated critics' faves Tiny Furniture (which won the dramatic jury prize) and Cold Weather. Clearly, the fest hasn’t lost its indie cred, although a hardcore midnight screening of A Serbian Film tested the limits of many filmgoers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 23, 2010 2:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?
One of the big questions this Oscar season surrounds the chances of such sci-fi genre fare as Avatar, Star Trek and District 9 to land on Oscar's best-picture Top Ten List. I dig into that question here and come up with some surprising answers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 7:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass

Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass
I am surprised by the film industry and the media's continued willingness to give a free pass to entrepreneur Carlos de Abreu's Hollywood Film Festival, a cannily constructed facade which honors stars, filmmakers and craftspeople and lines the pockets of de Abreu.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 12:31 PM
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  • 7 Comments

Cannes Watch: Indiana Jones

I saw it coming. Ever since Paramount announced that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would not screen for anyone before its May 18 unveiling at Cannes (in advance of its worldwide launch May 22), I felt that Spielberg and Co. might be setting themselves up. The anticipation of this film is too great, the pressure for information is wrecking havoc on the internet. As the NYT reports, several exhibitor screenings have added to the din surrounding this film. So far the PR strategy has been to dole out interviews to press who have not yet seen it; Vanity Fair, EW, the LAT and others have played ball.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 12, 2008 4:31 AM
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Greetings from Lucasland

I went up to SF last week with some Variety folks for a meeting at Lucasfilm's Presidio digs, complete with tour. We pulled up at the Letterman Digital Art Center on a gorgeous sunny spring day. The new white buildings fit into the rolling landscape as if they belonged there; George Lucas brought over the same Mission vibe that he had at the Mill Valley Skywalker Ranch. The big new 35 mm/Christie 2K screening room, which holds 296 removeable seats and a computer hook-up, was stunning too. (There are two smaller ones and seven "view stations" as well.) We watched a cool history timeline of ILM FX, from 1977's Star Wars through Willow, The Abyss, T2, and Jurassic Park to particle effects in Twister and the wave in Perfect Storm, as well as some trailers for ILM's summer tentpole trifecta Pirates 3, Transformers (a scary one) and Evan Almighty, which actually looks funny. (Davy Jones' eyes in Pirates 2? CGI.) The Letterman conference room boasts a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. And a guy named Kevin Woolley actually invented the motion capture suit with dots! The floors are raised 18 inches with fiberoptic cables running under them. The cafeteria boasts a sushi chef and a pizza oven.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 3, 2007 8:54 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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