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Thompson on Hollywood

Disney's Next Move: Who Will Replace Cook?

Something had to give at Disney. But motion picture chief Dick Cook was such a fixture at the studio that despite Disney chairman Robert Iger's public complaints about the quality of the movies, I figured production chief Oren Aviv would be the target. Disney's output has been suspect ever since Aviv replaced Nina Jacobson at the studio. Cook, who over 38 years rose up through the ranks to run distribution before he took over running movies, was clearly comfortable with Aviv, who came from the marketing side, but had written the high-concept hit, National Treasure. So Cook and Aviv were both strong marketers, but hit a rough box office patch in the last year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2009 8:48 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?
In the fall season, as hundreds of movies are launched and weighed at film festivals, critics come into their own. They don't hold much sway with audiences in the summer. But in the fall, suddenly, what they think does matter.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 8:58 AM
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  • 12 Comments

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut
I am happy to announce the debut of a weekly Friday kudo-podcast with In Contention's Kris Tapley. Here's the first Oscar Talk. We discuss the awards hopefuls so far and likely contenders coming out of upcoming fests; Meryl Streep’s remarkable emergence as a 60-year-old movie star; how the ten best picture slots could effect the Oscar race; new indie distribs Overture, Summit and Apparition; changing trends in Oscar campaigns; Paramount pushing Shutter Island to 2010; how Avatar Day went; and a Toronto preview.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 6:22 AM
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  • 6 Comments

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

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

Studios Play it Safe

Studios Play it Safe
Steven Spielberg is directing a remake of the Universal/Broadway classic Harvey; he's seeking a star like Tom Hanks or Will Smith to star. Fox is partnering with DreamWorks/Reliance to produce the movie about a six-foot, invisible rabbit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2009 2:47 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Cannes: Winners and Losers

Who came out ahead and behind on their Cannes jaunt this year?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 31, 2009 3:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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