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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch: Visual Effects List of Seven Led by Avatar

Seven movies have made the short list of the Academy Visual Effects branch. They will vote for the final three nominated films on January 21 at the annual bake-off, where 15-minute reels of each film are screened for the VFX voters. I'm always at Sundance for this; I'd love to go one day.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2010 7:17 AM
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Producers Go Sci-Fi: Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek Make Top Ten

Producers Go Sci-Fi: Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek Make Top Ten
District 9 and Star Trek join awards front-runner Avatar in the Producers Guild of America's top ten for the Darryl F. Zanuck award in theatrical motion pictures.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2010 3:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?
One of the big questions this Oscar season surrounds the chances of such sci-fi genre fare as Avatar, Star Trek and District 9 to land on Oscar's best-picture Top Ten List. I dig into that question here and come up with some surprising answers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 7:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Paramount Scores Orci and Kurtzman Project

It's not surprising that new Paramount production head Adam Goodman took advantage of his DreamWorks insider status and nabbed a high-profile project, License to Steal, from the super-hot screenwriter-producing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. This buy of an overtly commercial Salon feature about globe-trotting Repo men chasing luxury planes and boats was pursued by several top directors and producers. It signals that an inside-Hollywood pro is back in charge, and the once-quiet studio is back in buying mode. When Paramount put into turnaround projects such as John Carter of Mars and Twilight , that sent another signal: the studio didn't recognize potential franchises.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:43 AM
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Summer Movies: Drag Me to Hell, Away We Go

Every once in a while I am reminded that my taste is not the same as the mass audience. I can usually call a blockbuster like 300 or Star Trek--in other words, I ignore the tracking and opening weekend predictions to insist--THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD IT WILL DO BUSINESS. Sometimes, thank God, word-of-mouth counts for something, so that a movie becomes A MUST-SEE.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 5, 2009 8:16 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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Trek Stuff

With Star Trek taking off at warp speed, will there be a new generation of Trekkies who know the canon and read the books and follow the world? Paramount is banking on it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 9, 2009 4:39 AM
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Star Trek Will Open Huge: $100 Million?

Star Trek will open huge, and some prognosticators are heralding the year's first $100 million weekend. That's not what the advance tracking shows, which is trending toward older males, or what Paramount wants anyone to believe. But word travels fast. And I will bet that the movie will outpace expectations. Even if the "brand"--everyone's favorite word these days--is damaged. Admittedly, my own daughter-of-a-Trekkie, Nora, 19, is not the slightest bit interested in plunking down her ten bucks.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 7, 2009 5:52 AM
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Dark Knight Ripple Effect: Dark Summer Movies

It's not like the Terminator franchise was ever light, exactly. But in the post-Dark Knight era, summer action movies--even Star Trek--are trending dark and edgy, and Terminator Salvation, Angels & Demons, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen certainly fit the bill. Word on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is that's darker than any of its predecessors.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 7, 2009 5:43 AM
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Star Trek: Engaging Fun

I saw J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek Friday night, sitting in the front row at the Paramount Studio Theatre. The movie grabbed me from the get-go. Because the Star Trek universe is already established, the filmmakers get away with throwing the audience into a classic stand-off between a Starfleet ship and a frightening Romulan vessel commanded by deadly Nero (Eric Bana). Suddenly lives are at stake and key figures are dead. One survivor of the melee: James T. Kirk. By the time the Star Trek title appeared at the end of this sequence, I was in tears.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2009 7:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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