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Thompson on Hollywood

Golden Globe Nominations: Atonement Leads Pack with Seven

With seven nominations, Joe Wright's Atonement led the field of Golden Globe nominations Thursday morning. It was a good day for Denzel Washington, who stars in two films out of seven in the motion picture drama category: American Gangster, in which he stars as a Harlem kingpin, and The Great Debaters, a heart-tugging period drama about an upstart debate team at a black college who take on Harvard, which he also directed. He was also nominated for best actor for American Gangster.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2008 8:11 AM
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Holiday Round-Up

The year-end results are in, from ten best lists to holiday openings (here's Pam McClintock's b.o. wrap). So what does it all mean?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2008 7:36 AM
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Sweeney Todd Opens in 5th Place

Sweeney Todd opened to excellent reviews (87% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com) and strong initial numbers on Friday, but the movie dropped an estimated 28 % (actually 25%) between Friday and Saturday. (Here's Sunday's Variety weekend boxoffice report.) This indicates that many viewers were lured by Paramount's mainstream horror-driven ad campaign, which did not sell the film as a Stephen Sondheim musical, and walked away disappointed. (The company also seeded the internet with clips showing the musical numbers.) Selling a unique movie like this, where there is no tried-and-true pattern to follow, is admittedly tricky. So Paramount made the call to go wide with 1200 runs--and not build the movie from fewer runs in sophisticated urban markets. It now looks like Dreamworks' initial strategy might have been the right way to go. That way early adopters would spread good word and build an audience slowly over time, rather than folks being lured into seeing a movie that they wind up not liking--and spreading bad word.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2007 7:56 AM
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Oscar Parties: Clooney Talks Clayton, Burton Talks Todd

'Tis the time of year for industry/Oscar parties. It's about trying to remind the press of who they should be rooting for the in the Oscar race, basically.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2007 5:55 AM
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Sweeney Todd Reactions

DreamWorks has been holding Sweeney Todd back. Well, they finally screened it last week, and elicited "non-reviews" from the Internet folks. The two trades are sufficiently alarmed by all this activity to consider running their reviews sooner rather than later, I hear.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2007 6:03 AM
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No Country for Old Men: That Pesky Ending

I'm having big debates about No Country for Old Men, especially the ending. If you've read the Cormac McCarthy book, you know that the Coens have done a very faithful adaptation, which McCarthy admires. [SPOILER ALERT] The duo was attracted to the very things that make the movie unconventional: a major character dies, and the forces of good don't triumph over the forces of evil at the end.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 27, 2007 6:52 AM
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Oscar Watch: Seeking Consensus

While I admire Kris Tapley's attempt to make some sense out of the blizzard of Oscar predictions out there, I remain convinced that until the prognosticators see Charlie Wilson's War and Sweeney Todd, the two films that many of us got invited to see Monday, none of these lists make much sense. Richard Corliss in Time suggests that "audiences will have a great time watching" Charlie Wilson's War, which seemed to play for Oprah Winfrey's Chicago audience. Oprah raved about Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance, as guests Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (who tried to get out of shooting a bikini scene while four weeks pregnant) nodded politely. My hunch is that Hoffman won't get nommed for best actor for The Savages or Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but will get a supporting nom for Charlie Wilson's War.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2007 7:13 AM
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Atonement: Wright and Hampton Talk

Atonement screened for my last UCLA class Monday night, and they went for it, although you can always tell when a movie has left some folks behind when they ask questions about why the characters behaved the way they did. About a third of the class had read the book. Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton explained why the movie was such a difficult challenge.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2007 8:16 AM
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Actor-Directors: Affleck's Gone Baby Gone, Hopkins' Slipstream, Redford's Lions for Lambs

Actors who reach a certain prominence are often able to get a movie made. This fall, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Affleck have both directed debut feature films. But the two movies couldn't be more different. Hopkins came to my UCLA class with his second film Slipstream (trailer), which premiered at Sundance in January. The word on the street was that it was arty, experimental, and pretentious. All true.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 30, 2007 6:03 AM
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Michael Clayton's Boxoffice and George Clooney's Stardom

Reading this thread on Hollywood Elsewhere responding to Kim Masters' Slate story on George Clooney and the boxoffice fate of Michael Clayton depressed me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 18, 2007 6:41 AM
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