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Thompson on Hollywood

Gotham Awards Go to Coens, McConaughey, Larson, and Coogler, '12 Years a Slave' Gets Zip, Daniels Fights Back

The Independent Feature Project's Gotham Awards are truly New York indie, just as Film Independent's Indie Spirits are very Los Angeles. Thus Monday night's awards benefited feature winner "Inside Llewyn Davis," a portrait of the 60s New York folk scene from New York's own Coen brothers, "Fruitvale Station," which won best rising director and artist for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, respectively, and actor winners Brie Larson ("Short Term 12") and Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club").
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2013 10:48 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: Who's Ahead in the Oscar Race, Post-AFI FEST and the Governors Awards, Documentaries and Beyond

Kris Tapley and I get back into the Oscar race, covering the AFI FEST showings of "Out of the Furnace," "Saving Mr. Banks," and "Lone Survivor." We get into the documentary short list, the opening of "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Nebraska," and how the top contenders worked the room at the Governors' Awards.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 22, 2013 12:11 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Crafts Roundup: A Survivor's Journey in Production Design

With the awards season upon us, we're launching a new column, "Crafts Roundup," which examines a different below-the-line category each week. As this particularly striking season is dominated by survival and/or reinvention (both fact-based and fantastical), we're starting off with production design and world building. Here are a few standouts so far:
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 21, 2013 11:36 AM
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Why Does the World Need Another Film Festival?

With a prolonged global recession putting increasing pressure on the already fragile financial underpinnings of film festivals all over the world, what’s the argument for yet another curated offering -- and especially one taking place more than an hour from a major city, in rural Virginia? That skepticism greeted the announcement of this weekend’s first annual Middleburg Film Festival, which was spearheaded by Washington DC (and Middleburg) entrepreneur, filmanthropist and sports team owner Sheila Johnson -- one of the producers of "Lee Daniels’s The Butler."
  • By Rick Allen
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  • October 30, 2013 12:50 PM
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Oprah Winfrey Network Takes TV Rights to 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

The Oprah Winfrey Network has secured TV rights to "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which had a boffo theatrical release in August via the Weinstein Company, and recently passed the $100 million mark. The film stars Forest Whitaker as longtime White House butler Cecil Gaines, and Winfrey as his wife. Both have generated Oscar buzz for their performances.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • September 26, 2013 2:57 PM
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'Riddick' Ends 'Butler''s Reign on Strong Post-Labor Day Weekend

This post-Labor Day weekend, normally a graveyard for box office, with rare major new films opening among late-August holdovers, Vin Diesel's "Riddick" posted a much bigger-than-usual gross. The top 10 took in around $63 million, low for most of the year but high for this weekend. Last year's total was only $46 million.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • September 8, 2013 1:38 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Sony Concert Doc 'One Direction' Boosts Labor Day Weekend Box Office, 'Closed Circuit' Flops

Forget the September doldrums. Sony's Brit boy band 3-D concert film "One Direction" was a solid number one. And major support came from four strong holdovers: "The Butler," "We're the Millers," "Planes" and "Elysium." All told, the three days will come in with about $84 million for the top 10, up $5 million from last year, and enough to increase the tiny year-to-date lead over 2012 that has taken eight months to achieve.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • September 1, 2013 1:51 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Box Office Top Ten: 'The Butler,' 'We're the Millers' Lead Solid Late Summer Weekend; 'Mortal Instruments' Another Sony Also-Ran

The end of season returns show that audiences can be satisfied with something beyond just the more hyped franchise entries that dominated most of the last few months, many of which failed to satisfy over a period when increased total grosses came with higher budgets. "The Butler" and "We're the Millers" -- both likely $100 million-plus pictures -- are significant August hits, with neither film considered typical summer fare.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 25, 2013 7:36 PM
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'The Butler' and 'We're the Millers' Continue Strong at Box Office, 'World's End' Could Be Wright's Biggest Grosser

Unlike some who find reporting on this kind of weekend not worth their time or analysis, there's a lot going on. For one thing, by Sunday the year's box office will officially be ahead of last year. For another, two solid late summer entries, "The Butler" and "We're the Millers," both held well to take the top two positions with signs of more success ahead. And three diverse new openers had variable success, led by Edgar Wright's acclaimed "The World's End" at just over 1,500 screens.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 24, 2013 3:21 PM
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'The Butler' Close to 'The Help''s Opening Numbers; Holdovers 'We're the Millers' and 'Elysium' Beat Other Newcomers

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" delivered as a major number one success for The Weinstein Co., exceeding most predictions. But the overall weekend marked another summer disappointment. Three of this week's four openers fell from their Friday starts, showing bad word of mouth and lack of interest. "Kick-Ass 2" was supposed to compete for number one with "The Butler," but underperformed relative to expectations. "Jobs" and especially "Paranoia" (which didn't even make the top 10) were real bellyflops. The second weekend for both "We're the Millers" and "Elysium" outgrossed all newbies except for "The Butler."
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 18, 2013 1:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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