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Thompson on Hollywood

Starz Seeks Next Sopranos, Shyamalan Circulates New Script, 3-D Decline, Jonah Hex Misfire

- In a bid to compete with HBO and Showtime, Starz has acquired the U.S. rights to remake the successful and critically acclaimed Aussie drama Underbelly, based on a real life '70s crime family. Former HBO chief Chris Albrecht (who launched The Sopranos) took over as Starz CEO last December. Vulture reports that Underbelly, along with UK show Torchwood and a planned Camelot saga, spearhead Starz's latest programming push. While the crime theme underlines both The Sopranos and Underbelly, it is new for Albrecht to look outside for inspiration. During his twenty-plus years at HBO, he tended to create original programming in-house. Things have changed; old content finds sizable viewership on channels like AMC, and audiences' appeal can be targeted more globally than locally.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 22, 2010 3:32 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Awards Circuit Gleanings: Bullock and Bay

Awards Circuit Gleanings: Bullock and Bay
The week before the Golden Globes, which happens to coincide with the final days of Oscar balloting, is packed with parties, most of them designed for maximum impact with Academy voters during balloting season. The senior quotient is noticeably higher at these events, where movie stars of yore and character actors mix with current awards contenders.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2010 9:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Visual Effects List of Seven Led by Avatar

Seven movies have made the short list of the Academy Visual Effects branch. They will vote for the final three nominated films on January 21 at the annual bake-off, where 15-minute reels of each film are screened for the VFX voters. I'm always at Sundance for this; I'd love to go one day.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2010 7:17 AM
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Transformers: ROTF Passes $300 Million

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has passed the $300 million in 14 days. The sequel is so hugely successful that it encourages the studios to keep pursuing the same dispiriting tentpole dream. It's not a question of Michael Bay being a crap director. He's clearly in the zone of knowing what audiences want to see. I just worry that the studios will neglect creating original franchises in the first place, which demand creativity and imagination.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2009 8:16 AM
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Paramount Scores Orci and Kurtzman Project

It's not surprising that new Paramount production head Adam Goodman took advantage of his DreamWorks insider status and nabbed a high-profile project, License to Steal, from the super-hot screenwriter-producing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. This buy of an overtly commercial Salon feature about globe-trotting Repo men chasing luxury planes and boats was pursued by several top directors and producers. It signals that an inside-Hollywood pro is back in charge, and the once-quiet studio is back in buying mode. When Paramount put into turnaround projects such as John Carter of Mars and Twilight , that sent another signal: the studio didn't recognize potential franchises.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:43 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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Six Lessons of Summer Box Office

First the media touted the uptick in 2009 theatrical business, now they're pointing to a downturn compared to last summer's b.o., a few big flops and the absence of blockbusters. "Through Sunday, summer B.O. revs stood at $1.46 billion, compared to $1.47 billion last year," reports Variety.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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Transformers' LaBoeuf: Troubled Star

What a difference two years makes. The picture on left of Shia LaBeouf ran in Parade Magazine when Disturbia made him into a star. The photo on the right ran this week in Parade in advance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Here's http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940483.html?categoryid=31&cs=1">Variety's review.) We all know that talent is only one component of a long and happy career. Stability is another. Or to put it another way, sometimes the sensitive tuning rod that is essential to a working actor's skill set isn't screwed on tight enough. LaBeouf speaks frankly about his demons. I wish him well in dealing with them.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2009 7:16 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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Transformers' Megan Fox Shoots Esquire Video

Clever marketing: put Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen star Megan Fox on the cover of Esquire. Shoot a Red One Camera video by Greg Williams to sell the cover story and photo layout--which come from the video shoot (a first). Let the video spread through the web like wildfire. (Which it would if they had provided embed code and allowed it to be uploaded on YouTube.) Annoyingly, you have to buy the magazine, which goes on sale May 10, to read the story and see the stills.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 4, 2009 6:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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