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Thompson on Hollywood

Twilight Saga New Moon: Saturday Night Live Spoof Firelight, Pattinson's Next Moves

With Chris Weitz's Twilight Saga: New Moon opening on November 20 (and Twilight reprising in theaters the night before), every media outlet worth their salt is trying to grab a piece of the Twilight fan base. Saturday Night Live is no exception. (See trailer for Firelight, starring Taylor Swift, on the jump.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 8, 2009 3:18 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Twilight's Pattinson Covers Vanity Fair

Twilight's Pattinson Covers Vanity Fair
I never do junkets. But at Comic-Con a year ago last July, the place went nuts over Twilight star Rob Pattinson. So last November, I knew I had to interview the young Brit actor with my flip cam. Summit gave me a one-on-one with him at the Four Seasons.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 3, 2009 8:56 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Paramount Wants Chris Pine for Jack Ryan

Last summer, as producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura was waiting to read the new Untitled Tom Clancy Project from writer Hossein Amini, he told me that the Jack Ryan role could go older, or younger. Well, now that the studio is in deep negotiations with Star Trek star Chris Pine, they're obviously going younger. It makes sense. If the studio has an in-house star (lined up to do the Star Trek sequel), they might as well hang onto him by offering him another juicy franchise role. It amazes me that in the franchise era, it has taken the studio this long to ramp this one up.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 11:18 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit
Universal execs are heaving a huge sigh of relief with the $23.5 million estimated opening weekend for Judd Apatow's edgy comedy Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. The movie scored mixed reviews and played best for men. Women hated it . It's a pity that the studio wasn't able to help Apatow whip his sprawling two and half hour comedy into submission. The movie was ambitious, brilliant, dark and out of control, and I suspect the box office will fall steeply on word-of-mouth.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2009 7:25 AM
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  • 9 Comments

#SDCC Looks: Iron Man 2, Whiteout, Nightmare on Elm Street

As I head to San Diego for my umpteenth Comic-Con, I feel equal parts anticipation and dread. It's fun and I'll learn a lot that I want to know--but it's exhausting, large-crowd, insane circus fun.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 6:36 AM
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Master and Commander Redux

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has all the elements of the kind of movie that keeps studio heads up at night: it's literary (based on the Patrick O'Brian seafaring series), period (Napoleonic), expensive (close to $150 million), packed with action (swords, pistols, rifles and cannons) and VFX (ships at sea under fire). That's why, even though the Napoleonic adventure movie looks like a success, grossing $209.5 million worldwide, it was a nail biter for Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman at the time. (He took on partners in the venture, and had to push back the release to get the FX finished.) The well-reviewed awards contender (nominated for ten Oscars, it won two) barely made its production and marketing costs back. (Here's my NYT story from 2003.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 20, 2009 6:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Harry Potter Meets Love Potion Number 9

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Potter isn't whisking through space on Dumbledore's arm (this is really a father-son fromance) or dipping his face into other people's creepy memories, he and pals Ron and Hermione are entangled in various teen love intrigues--one even involves a powerful love potion. Movieline goes to the source (Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson) to get the skinny on who hearts who.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 9, 2009 8:05 AM
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Transformers' LaBoeuf: Troubled Star

What a difference two years makes. The picture on left of Shia LaBeouf ran in Parade Magazine when Disturbia made him into a star. The photo on the right ran this week in Parade in advance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Here's http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940483.html?categoryid=31&cs=1">Variety's review.) We all know that talent is only one component of a long and happy career. Stability is another. Or to put it another way, sometimes the sensitive tuning rod that is essential to a working actor's skill set isn't screwed on tight enough. LaBeouf speaks frankly about his demons. I wish him well in dealing with them.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 7:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Don't Feel Sorry for Michael Bay

Nobody likes Michael Bay. Give the media a big fat target like a Forbes "who is richer" entry, and they will not resist piling on. New York's Vulture even calls him "the mogul of mindlessness." Lest we feel sorry for him, the guy owns Digital Domain and gets 10% of the gross on the Transformers movies (and 8% on the toys). And don't get your hopes up. By all accounts, this summer's installment, as over-pixellated as it looks, will not be a boxoffice disappointment when it opens June 24.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 5, 2009 7:26 AM
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Star Trek Opens Strong; Kurtzman and Orci Talk

You can look at tracking all you want, and listen to studio marketers downplaying expectations. But truth is, if a movie plays as well as Star Trek does, the word gets out. The movie opened to an estimated $31 million on Friday (including Thursday night numbers), and we know that the WOM will be strong. So it's going to do a lot better than those $50-65 million estimates. UPDATE: It grossed an estimated $76.5 million for the weekend but scored only 35% under 25. Of course the core demo skewed older. Paramount has been spending the big bucks on luring the younger demo--which will likely expand on upbeat WOM.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 9, 2009 6:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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