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Thompson on Hollywood

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Will Open Huge

It's no surprise that as of Monday AM in advance of a Wednesday opening, MovieTickets.com is reporting over 1,300 sold out showings for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince worldwide, including over 950 stateside midnight sellouts.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 2:39 AM
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Streep Gained 15 Pounds Making Julie & Julia

Ah, the hazards of moviemaking. George Clooney, Robert DeNiro, Rene Zellweger, and Christian Bale have all had to gain or lose dramatic amounts of weight for movie roles. Meryl Streep, now 60, struggled to lose eight pounds for her editrix role in Devil Wears Prada, limiting herself to one glass of wine a night. She went the other way while playing renowned French chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia: she gained 15 pounds. At least she came out ahead with some cooking tips, she told Ladies Home Journal.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2009 2:13 AM
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Soderbergh and Mann: Too Smart for the Room?

As much as I want to see the Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt version of Moneyball, reality needs to return to the movie business. Soderbergh himself occupies a strange nexus within Hollywood. He once told me that he didn't want to direct movies out of the back seat of a limousine. And he is willing to play studio ball or indie ball, as he sees fit. At the same time, like all gifted directors, he wants to push himself, and the art form. But he often loses interest in what movie audiences might want. (UPDATE: On Soderbergh's upcoming Warners' agro-business comedy The Informant!, starring Matt Damon, which is set to debut at September's Toronto Film Fest, the director was eager to be "audience friendly," says co-financeer Groundswell CEO Michael London.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 2:30 AM
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Hurt Locker, Other Award Pics Directed by Women

The reviews Kathryn Bigelow has nabbed for The Hurt Locker (91 on Metacritic) are noteworthy. That doesn't mean that the movie will score at the boxoffice for Summit, but it's off to the second-strongest start for an indie this year. The movie has a shot at one of ten slots in the wide open Oscar best picture race. Even the NYT's tough-minded Manohla Dargis, who has long shared with me a sense of dismay at the thin ranks of gifted women directors, was moved to step out of the reviewer's box to praise Bigelow here.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 28, 2009 2:36 AM
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Universal Trims La Toya Jackson from Bruno

The day that Michael Jackson died, Universal execs realized that they had to make a change in Bruno. Fast. They called writer-producer-star Sacha Baron Cohen, who instantly agreed that a short scene with Michael Jackson's sister, La Toya, was no longer going to play. Not that night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 26, 2009 1:32 AM
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Transformers: ROTF Premiere, LaBeouf's Wild Life

>Here's what I learned on my rounds at the Transformers: ROTF premiere Monday night:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 23, 2009 2:03 AM
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Bruno's Cohen Strikes Gay Poses

We all saw Sacha Baron Cohen in his Bruno guise descend on the face of Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards. Well, not since Zoolander have we seen a straight actor take so many gay poses. Not only is he on the cover of GQ--with more provocative spreads inside--but he looks quite fetching in a Brit military outfit at the Bruno London opening.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 7:04 AM
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G.I. Joe Fracas

Fact: the Internet tends to pile on to dramatic negative stories, whether or not they are true. That is the case with the rumor about Paramount taking director Stephen Sommers off summer movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 12, 2009 5:10 AM
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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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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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