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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Box Office: Hopkins' The Rite Beats Statham's The Mechanic; Oscar Pix Go Wide

Thriller The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins in chew-the-scenery mode, topped yet another depressed weekend box office, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:Winter continued to freeze turnstiles as total domestic receipts amounted to an estimated $106 million, off 15% from the same frame last year when 2009 carry-over Avatar was still scorching the chilly season.   Warner Bros./New Line’s Anthony Hopkins exorcist thriller The Rite evoked $15 million at No. 1, a number that’s in line with studio projections, but a far cry from the boffo bows of the Oscar-winner’s prior horror-thrillers.  Elsewhere, Jason Statham’s remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film The Mechanic passed $11.5 million, besting CBS Films’ $7-$9 million estimate, but it went toe-to-toe with Sony holdover The Green Hornet for third place. 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 30, 2011 5:36 AM
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Oscar Watch Exclusive: Tom Hooper Talks Directing Style in The King's Speech

In a wide-ranging discussion about his directing approach on The King's Speech, Tom Hooper talks (in the video below) about framing star Colin Firth in wide-lens close-ups so that there was "nothing between him and the character." He mentions one of the visual themes in the film was finding "a visual analogue to stammering which became about framing Colin in relationship to negative space."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 4:17 AM
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Golden Globes: Best Actor Drama Goes to Firth

Colin Firth is the expected winner as he continues to chalk up wins for his role as a stuttering King George VI in The King's Speech. Firth's momentum going forward toward the Oscars is probably too strong to beat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 17, 2011 3:46 AM
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At the Critics' Choice Awards: Winners Are Social Network, Inception, Firth, Portman, Leo, Bale

Paramount had a good night at the Broadcast Film Critics Associations's Critic's Choice Awards Friday night, winning three prizes for The Fighter, including best ensemble, supporting actress (Melissa Leo) and supporting actor (Christian Bale), a young actress award for Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit and doc prize for Waiting for Superman.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 15, 2011 6:18 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Directors Guild Reveals Five Male Front-Runners, Skips Women

Directors Guild Reveals Five Male Front-Runners, Skips Women
If there was any doubt as to which films were the front-runners in the Oscar race, they were quelled by the Directors Guild announcement of their nominees. The DGA tends to match Oscar nominations four for five. A movie almost never wins best picture without a DGA nomination, and the DGA winner has been the Oscar winner all but six times since 1948. As expected, first-time nominees Darren Aronofsky and Tom Hooper and vets David Fincher and Chris Nolan are in the running for the DGA's top prize. If the industry still harbors any grudges against David O. Russell for his past on-set behavior, the directors, at least, recognized him with his first DGA nomination for The Fighter.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 10, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Race Questions: Nomination Ballots Due January 14

Oscar Race Questions: Nomination Ballots Due January 14
There are several unknowns as we hurtle toward the end of balloting for Oscar nominations January 14. (Here's the schedule.) What we do know: the race for best picture is still between The King's Speech and The Social Network, the popular heart-tugger vs. the more cerebral critics' fave (see the votes at Gurus 'o Gold). Both sides are campaigning hard: both Weinstein Co. and Paramount are throwing Oscar parties this week. (My full Oscar Predicts Chart is here.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Toy Story 3 Tops Quentin Tarantino's Best of 2010

Quentin Tarantino has posted his favorite movies of 2010, all twenty of them. Unlike many critics, Tarantino has no problem with citing movies that are popular hits. And he's seen his share of obscurities as well. Tarantino is an Academy member, though not a typical one. His taste is catholic, ranging from specialty and foreign films to raunchy comedies, animated family fare and big-budget actioners. His most surprising choices are two critical and box office studio failures that are as well-directed as they were commercially misguided: James Mangold's Knight and Day and Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Wow.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2011 11:44 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Holiday Wrap: Weak Box Office, True Grit Takes on Little Fockers, Black Swan, King's Speech Score

The box office continued tepid during what should have been a robust holiday period with North American families on vacation; it was down 26 percent from last year. For the year, the 2010 3-D-pumped domestic box office totaled $10.5 billion, down 0.3 percent from 2009's Avatar-inflated record of $10.6 billion. But the attendance stat provides a sobering reality check: attendance was down a whopping 5 percent: 1.34 billion against 1.41 billion in 2009. 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2011 6:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: Late December Openings, Frontrunners, WGA and Oscar Music, DGA Predicts

Oscar Talk: Late December Openings, Frontrunners, WGA and Oscar Music, DGA Predicts
In Contention's Kris Tapley and I weigh the impact of year-end releases on the Oscar race. Will Another Year's Lesley Manville squeak into best actress contention, is Nicole Kidman hurt by the weak performance of Rabbit Hole? And what about frontrunner Natalie Portman's new pregnancy? What would it take to push Biutiful's Javier Bardem or I Am Love's Tilda Swinton into the race?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 31, 2010 5:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Lousy Christmas Weekend Box Office: Little Fockers Beats True Grit, Best Coens Opening Ever

At a horrendous Christmas weekend---which saw a 44% three-day drop in grosses over last year (flush with Avatar)---sequel comedy Little Fockers beat out adult western True Grit, the best--and widest--opening ever for a Coen brothers movie. It's likely that the well-reviewed oater will have longer legs, however, as it settles in for the long Oscar haul.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 26, 2010 7:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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