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Thompson on Hollywood

Friday Box Office: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Cleans Up, Nothing Else Kicks Ass

At the Friday box office, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" rose above expectations position to score an easy top spot in what was predicted to be a close race for the weekend with poorly-reviewed "Kick-Ass 2" (Universal). The Weinstein Co.'s well-hyped historical epic benefited from the controversy over its title and strong marketing, powered by TV personality Oprah Winfrey, as well as overall favorable reviews. Two other new films, 'Jobs' (Open Road) and 'Paranoia' (Relativity) lagged far behind, demonstrating limited audience appeal.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 17, 2013 2:28 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Production Designer Galvin Talks Recreating the White House in New Orleans for 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

Tim Galvin jumped at the rare opportunity to design nearly a century of the African-American experience, both inside and outside the White House, with "Lee Daniels' The Butler."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 16, 2013 1:37 PM
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Oscar Talk Season Five Episode One: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

On this week's Oscar Talk Podcast, the first of our fifth season, In Contention's Kris Tapley and I round up the movies that have already screened, from Sundance hits "Fruitvale Station," "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Before Midnight" to the Cannes titles ("All is Lost," "Blue is the Warmest Color," "The Immigrants," "Nebraska," "The Past") that are likely to show up at Venice, Telluride, Toronto or New York.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 16, 2013 11:59 AM
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This Weekend: See 'Cutie and the Boxer,' 'Lee Daniels' The Butler,' 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'; Skip 'Jobs' and 'Kick-Ass 2'

Be on the lookout for a few can't-miss films this weekend. Zachary Heinzerling's Sundance documentary "Cutie and the Boxer," on famed Japenese artist couple Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, is receiving rave reviews for its humorous yet unsentimental portrayal of the creative passion that still burns late in life.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • August 15, 2013 1:10 PM
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ANATOMY OF A SCENE: Lee Daniels Talks Over 'The Butler'

Check out the New York Times Anatomy of a Scene from "Lee Daniels' The Butler."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2013 4:24 PM
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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Review and Roundup

There's a reason The Weinstein Co. is opening "Lee Daniels' The Butler" ahead of film festival season, even if it does have Oscars in mind. They recognize that this crowd pleaser will play better, like the similarly accessible "The Help," for a wide audience than critics. It's a four-hankie tearjerker of the first order. I wept repeatedly.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2013 12:46 PM
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WATCH: Jane Fonda Portrays Nancy Reagan in 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' (TRAILER)

A new clip from "Lee Daniels' The Butler," as it is now known, shows Jane Fonda stealing a scene as Nancy Reagan alongside Forest Whitaker, who plays a White House butler.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • July 28, 2013 4:09 PM
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Watch: Post Weinstein Legal Battle, UPDATED Trailer for 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

UPDATE: With the Weinsteins' loss of "The Butler" legal battle with Warner Bros., an updated trailer for the film has arrived, sporting the slightly unwieldy new title "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Watch below.
  • By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio
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  • July 23, 2013 2:18 PM
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Harvey Weinstein Loses Tussle with Warners Over 'The Butler,' Makes Statement UPDATED (VIDEO)

In the end, Harvey Weinstein vs. Warner Bros. did not turn out well for The Weinstein Co., which as of Friday has been ordered by the MPAA to pay a $400,000 fine plus $150,000 in legal fees to the studio. According to one angry senior TWC exec, the company had received a go-ahead from the studio's distribution chief Dan Fellman--and done all the necessary legal work to clear the title, but permission was reneged. That's not what Warners says, however. They say that Weinstein needs to fulfill his legal paperwork like anyone else, and deny that the tussle is about "The Hobbit." "We may want to use the title someday," said one spokeswoman in Comic-Con.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • July 22, 2013 3:34 PM
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  • 4 Comments

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