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Thompson on Hollywood

Will Thor Be Latest Jewel in Marvel Crown? Marvel Talks Recipe for Success

Will Thor Be Latest Jewel in Marvel Crown? Marvel Talks Recipe for Success
Marvel Entertainment is a model for a company that has cannily looked out for its own interests as it seeks to exploit and protect its rich endowment of comic characters and stories. With Shakespearean actor-director Kenneth Branagh's epic adventure Thor hitting theaters May 6, Anthony D'Alessandro parses the Marvel performance thus far. Like the hammer-wielding god Thor, Marvel Entertainment has smashed the film industry’s bias against superhero projects ever since rolling out the 2000 feature adaptation of Spider-Man ($822 million worldwide B.O.), ushering in the golden age of comic-book cinema. To date, the Marvel feature adaptations, both licensed and inhouse productions, have racked up $7.4 billion at the global box office. The media company will continue to raise that figure with the 22nd Marvel superhero adaptation this weekend, Thor, which is on tap to rake in $55-$70 million at 3,955 theaters (the average domestic bow for a Marvel title is $65 million) after collecting $125 million abroad.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 6, 2011 3:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Review: Flamboyant and Uninspired

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Review: Flamboyant and Uninspired
Film and comics critic Simon Abrams (Village Voice, Comics Journal) ventured onto Broadway to see what all the fuss was about on Julie Taymor's endlessly previewed (performances started on November 28; the opening was postponed to March 15) and troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. He finds flamboyance in the service of uninspired storytelling:Nobody needs an introduction to Spider-Man after decades of comics and three blockbuster films (a reboot is under way). But Julie Taymor is determined to rework this eighth-told tale tale into mythic stature. The epic musical Turn Off the Dark’s spectacular failure comes down to its creators’ inability to realize what they could do with a beloved property with built-in mainstream appeal.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 22, 2011 9:13 AM
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  • 3 Comments

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights
Entertainment Weekly's latest issue profiles the new generation of superheroes, represented on the cover by new Superman Henry Cavill. As his director Zack Snyder puts it: “Other actors put that suit on and it’s a joke, even if they’re great actors. Henry put it on, and he exuded this kind of crazy-calm confidence that just made me go, ‘Wow. Okay, this is Superman.’ If you can put on that suit and pull it off, that’s an awesome achievement.” An even better achievement? Still having a career after the spandex has lost its stretch.  Ryan Reynolds says of his Green Lantern character: “He’s not in the mainstream the way Superman or Spider-Man is.” And he once considered himself a purely comedic actor: “I looked like Dick Van Dyke, so I thought I was going that route.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 17, 2011 8:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Amazing Spider-Man: Official New Title and Andrew Garfield in Full Spider-Man Suit

Not to raise expectations, but that previously untitled Spider-Man reboot that is currently shooting with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone has landed an uninspired official name based on one of the franchise's long running comic books: The Amazing Spider-Man -- not to be confused with any other less amazing Spider-Man movie that has come before. The film, directed by Marc Webb from a script by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent will be released entirely in 3-D on July 3, 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 14, 2011 8:22 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Photo Gallery

Check out The Social Network co-star Andrew Garfield as a slim, bountifully-haired Spider-Man, complete with a skin-tight bodysuit. The untitled Columbia Pictures Spider-Man Reboot, directed by Marc Webb, opens July 3, 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 13, 2011 8:12 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Production Watch: Bale in Nanjing Heroes, Dark Knight Rises; Stone & Garfield In Spiderman(s)

- China's premiere director Zhang Yimou (Hero, the Beijing Olympic Games) has named Christian Bale to star in Nanjing Heroes. The $90 million period epic tells the story of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese troops killed thousands of Chinese in the capital city (1937). Bale will play an American priest who assists citizens in escaping impending death. Zhang also announced the hiring of special effects house Dark Side FX (The Dark Knight). The film will mix English and Mandarin (40/60), he said. No Chinese film or director has ever taken home an Academy Award in a major category. (Zhang himself had back-to-back Oscar nominations for Ju Dou in 1990 and Raise the Red Lantern in 1991.) "It's the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence," Zhang told THR. The casting of Bale was not a box office ploy, but rather "a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead." Shooting Nanjing Heroes will begin shooting January 10. Bale will be due on The Dark Knight Rises set May 2011.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 22, 2010 6:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Sony's Pascal Extends Employment Deal

Amy Pascal is sticking with her gig as co-chairman at Sony Pictures Entertainment for the moment.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2010 11:47 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Spider-Man Musical Is Media Live Wire; Hits Saturday Night Live

From New York Magazine to 60 Minutes (video below), Julie Taymor's ambitious $60-million musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has been generating as many media stories as stage accidents. Now Saturday Night Live has gotten into the act:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 5, 2010 6:52 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Columbia's Tolmach and Belgrad Split; Tolmach Goes Indie Prod with Spider-Man, Belgrad Solo Prexy

The seven-year Columbia tenure of Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad has come to an end. Co-president since 2008, Tolmach is moving on to launch a new production company--he has a three-year contract-- and starting in December, will join with Marvel and Laura Ziskin on the next iteration of Spider-Man, a series he has shepherded since 2002. (Not a bad way to launch a solo career.) At the end of November, Belgrad will take over the solo reins at Columbia. He is bringing on Hannah Minghella as his new president of production. She has been president of Sony Pictures Animation since 2008, where she supervised Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming Arthur Christmas, The Pirates!, and Hotel Transylvania>
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 5:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rhys Ifans Joins Garfield and Stone for 3-D Spider-Man Reboot

Rhys Ifans will play villain to Spider-Man leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Sony's Spider-Man reboot is signing the Welsh supporting player (Greenberg, Notting Hill, Vanity Fair), who also co-stars in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Passion Play, opposite Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 11, 2010 6:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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