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Thompson on Hollywood

Four Summer 2014 Box Office Takeaways: How Hollywood Lost Its Mojo

Over the course of covering the weekly box office, the huge drop in grosses over the summer season (defined as the first Friday in May through Labor Day) has become a regular theme. August's two strong performers reduced the toll a tad, but with one weekend remaining, the results are in. And they are grim.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 28, 2014 3:50 PM
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  • 3 Comments

SPECIALTY BOX OFFICE: 'Trip to Italy' and 'Frank' Best of New Sundance-Premiered Openers as 'Life After Beth' Lags

Three high-profile Sundance 2014 films top the grosses for this week's specialized openers. Comedy "The Trip to Italy" (IFC) and music drama "Frank" (Magnolia) fared best in theaters only--from distributors who often use day-and-date Video on Demand avenues. A third, zombie flick "Life After Beth" (A24), which has been viewable on Direct TV for the past month, opened soft in two prime bicoastal locations.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 17, 2014 12:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Top Ten Box Office Takeaways: 'Turtles' Beats 'Guardians'; 'Hundred-Foot Journey' Scores With Adults, 'Get On Up' Stumbles

For the second time this summer and the first time ever in August, two films grossed over $40 million on the same weekend. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) opened over expectations at $65 million, while Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) dropped a reasonable 56%. Last summer four films opened at over $40-million mark, three on one weekend.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 10, 2014 4:50 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'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

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