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Thompson on Hollywood

'Maleficent' Crosses $700 Million Worldwide, Shining Jewel in Lackluster Summer

Disney's "Maleficent," which opened May 30, has topped $700 million worldwide, marking Jolie’s highest-grossing live action film of all time domestically, internationally and globally, as well as the highest grossing original film of 2014 worldwide. "Maleficent" is a shining jewel in a dull summer box office that has dipped 20 % so far. The year to date is down 6 %.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2014 2:49 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: The Best of the Year So Far

The dog days of summer are here, and for moviegoers that usually means an August lull between tentpole extravaganzas and festival fodder, a chance to reflect on the year so far...
  • By Matthew Brennan
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  • August 7, 2012 6:28 PM
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  • 6 Comments

Review: Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' Offers Eye-Popping 'Alien' Origin Myth

Ridley Scott’s return to the genre that forged his reputation as a visionary stylist arrives weighed down by expectations it was always going to struggle to match, let alone surpass. "Prometheus" contains neither the taut, visceral chills of "Alien" nor ground-breaking aesthetic of "Blade Runner" but does bite off some colossal themes.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • June 1, 2012 1:23 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Alamo Drafthouse Presents Guy-Centric 'Summer of 1982: The Greatest Summer of Movies... Ever'

Alamo Drafthouse has programmed an uninspired three-month series of summer blockbusters celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 2, 2012 7:51 PM
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  • 6 Comments

E-Books Sell One Million Copies: Girl with Dragon Tattoo vs. The Help

While Amazon is announcing that The Help, the 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett, is the first e-book to sell over one million copies, Random House is reporting that The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo sold a million e-copies---back in the month of April. Quite a few authors, including Stieg Larsson, Nora Roberts, and James Patterson, have already sold over a million books, but Amazon reports that The Help is the first single title to rack up a million sales.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 17, 2011 6:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

30 Minutes or Less Box Office Will Get Unexpected Boost from Real-Life Controversy

30 Minutes or Less Box Office Will Get Unexpected Boost from Real-Life Controversy
What was Sony thinking? Like predecessors Superbad ($121.5 million domestic B.O.) and Pineapple Express ($87.3 million), raunchy comedy 30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride, looked to be building some summer bad-boy buzz until online needles rattled over a potentially devastating controversy. Anthony D'Alessandro has more:Instantly, the set-up of 30 Minutes, which looked like a heightened version of Neil Simon’s Seems Like Old Times, took on a new light when the family of Brian Wells, a late Pennsylvania pizza man who met his fate after being coerced to rob a bank as a bomb hostage, revealed that the 30 Minutes filmmakers were satirizing their real tragedy. Who knew that the film was even remotely associated with actual events? Director Ruben Fleischer insists that there's no connection between Well’s death and 30 Minutes, while Sony’s defense is that the screenwriters were only “vaguely” familiar with the tragedy. “You don’t look to make trouble with your core audience,” says one distribution executive of studio efforts to sidestep controversial properties. “That’s stupid. You look to make money.”
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 9, 2011 7:45 AM
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  • 18 Comments

The Help Reviews: Southern Sass, Avoiding the Sociological Minefield, Davis and Spencer Shine

The Help, based on Kathryn Sockett's 2009 novel, is finally landing some better reviews (below) that should help quell some of the controversy over the insider's look at black maids in 1960s Mississippi--told from a white woman's perspective. The reviews had been held back under an embargo, leaving Disney's NYT Sunday ad for the film packed with soft quotes from the likes of Rex Reed and Jeff Craig. Caryn James says the film improves on the book, despite having no artistic ambitions.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 6:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Who Gets Credit for Rise of the Planet of the Apes?

Who Gets Credit for Rise of the Planet of the Apes?
Now that word-of-mouth has caught up with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is well on its way to being a huge global hit, folks will be lining up to take credit for the picture. Who deserves the credit for how well this turned out?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 8, 2011 5:41 AM
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  • 5 Comments

The Change-Up Premieres in Westwood: Bateman, Reynolds, Bullock; Early Reviews

The studios get freaked when a movie destined to be commercially mainstream plays better for adults. That's because it's in their interest to play better to dumb young males than to, say, smart older females who can't be counted on to show up on an opening weekend. That's why so many awful movies get made that leave me out of their target demo. This was one topic at Monday night's Universal premiere of The Change-Up (August 5, trailer below), which was better than I was expecting. Universal is nervous because the movie is tracking older and female. (Early reviews are trending rotten; here's Metacritic.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2011 10:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments

ITVS Free Doc Festival in Celebration of 20 Years of Independence

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) will honor documentarians for their outstanding contributions by granting anyone on the Internet access to these films. In celebration of their 20 years of funding for independent filmmakers, ITVS will stream 20 of its award-winning documentaries online for free. The festival starts Monday July 25 and continues until Friday September 23; find a complete listing of films here and watch ITVS’s trailer for its festival below.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • July 25, 2011 7:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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