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Thompson on Hollywood

Racing Doc Senna Takes Banksy Indie Route: Opens Strong, Tries to Reel in Women

Racing Doc Senna Takes Banksy Indie Route: Opens Strong, Tries to Reel in Women
The real question after this weekend's best doc opening of the year ($36,749 per screen average) for the Formula 1 racing doc Senna is why Working Title didn't put the movie out through Universal's specialty subsidiary Focus Features, which releases many of their smaller-scale films, including the upcoming Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Focus may be regretting the move--Senna is already the third-highest performing doc in the U.K., behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and March of the Penguins. Universal, which owns some territories, put up the domestic P & A.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 16, 2011 2:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Critics, Academy, Men, Women: The Help vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Oscar Watch: Critics, Academy, Men, Women: The Help vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
It's not surprising where @spikelee falls on The Help. He's retweeting the articles that support his views, from indieWIRE's Eric Kohn to Michael Phillips in The Chicago Tribune. UPDATE: And The Association of Black Women Historians also disapproves.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 15, 2011 3:56 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Apes Dominate For Second Week as The Help Rises

Weekend Box Office: Apes Dominate For Second Week as The Help Rises
August summer box office showed some breadth, as studios battled for weekend dominance with pictures appealing to a range of audience segments, from women (The Help) to tweens (Glee) and holdover prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, reports Anthony D'Alessandro.Neither a 3-D bridge disaster, Gleek, nor bomb-strapped buffoon could topple Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes in its second session as it grossed $27.5 million. Meanwhile, Disney/DreamWorks' critically acclaimed chick-lit feature The Help posed a formidable foe, taking second place with $25.5 million from Friday to Sunday.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 14, 2011 5:05 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Weekend Preview: The Help, 30 Minutes or Less, Must-See is Formula 1 Doc Senna

Weekend Preview: The Help, 30 Minutes or Less, Must-See is Formula 1 Doc Senna
Girl of summer Emma Stone leads a strong cast in The Help, destined to please mainstream crowds but not necessarily critics and the Academy. Meanwhile, Jesse Eisenberg returns to the big screen for the first time since his Oscar-nominated role in 2010's The Social Network with what is meant to be lighter comedy fare--30 Minutes or Less--but the film is now mired in controversy. Working Title's racing doc Senna is a must-see, while The Last Circus is a "one-of-a-kind experience that will confound, befuddle and amaze," and Littlerock is a "little gem." Glee: The 3D Concert Movie and Final Destination 5 should pull younger audiences. Details, trailers and reviews for these films and more are below:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 11, 2011 4:50 AM
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  • 0 Comments

The Help: Mainstream Crowd-Pleaser, Not Oscar Contender

The Help: Mainstream Crowd-Pleaser, Not Oscar Contender
At the Academy premiere of The Help Tuesday night, DreamWorks' Stacey Snider, Participant's Jeff Skoll and Ricky Strauss, and Disney's Rich Ross presided over an industry unveiling that yielded plenty of tears and applause. The crowd was packed with Colleen Camp's Academy list, from producers Norman Lear, Laura Bickford and Larry Gordon to rising actor Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom). The movie is a mainstream crowd pleaser. Summit's Patrick Wachsberger is right to compare it to Driving Miss Daisy, in more ways than one, suggesting that it will perform similarly well overseas. And Ross was smart to demur when trade reporters asked him about the studio's Oscar strategy. It's wise to wait and see how it does.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 10, 2011 12:06 PM
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  • 10 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

Weekend Box Office: Good Word Propels Rise of the Planet of the Apes to $54 Million, Change-Up Soft

Weekend Box Office: Good Word Propels Rise of the Planet of the Apes to $54 Million, Change-Up Soft
Truth is, Fox did not know what a powerful box office contender it had in prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, waiting to screen the film until the last minute when the film's astonishing VFX were final. Then the good word exploded, and the movie scored a rousing $54 million opening weekend. Anthony D'Alessandro digs into the numbers. Fox executives had every reason to beat their chests this morning as Rise of the Planet of the Apes greatly exceeded expectations with $54 million. Meanwhile Universal suits saw yet another summer entry disappoint, as R-rated guy comedy The Change-Up followed last weekend's Cowboys & Aliens with a dispiriting $13.5 million opening.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 7, 2011 4:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Two Clips from One Day, Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess: Destined To Be Hit or Miss?

Check out a clip from Lone Scherfig's One Day below and another one at IMDb. Here's a look at the poster, more details. Official trailer is also below. One Day opens August 19. This clip is better than the teaser trailer, which had a woeful voiceover, but we're not feeling it yet, especially not with the fake British accent--need to see this one.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 4, 2011 7:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bellflower & The Medusa, Whistleblower, Magic Trip

Weekend Preview: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bellflower & The Medusa, Whistleblower, Magic Trip
Rise of the Planet of the Apes has finally landed with jaw-dropping effects and strong reviews. Apes should knock either The Smurfs or Cowboys & Aliens off their top two positioning.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 4, 2011 5:40 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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