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Thompson on Hollywood

Box Office Scandal: Circuit Dealing Pervades Small Towns, Flagship vs. Century Theatres

In a David vs. Goliath face-off, indie-owned Flagship Theaters recently won an appeal in its crusade against Cinemark’s Century Theatres. Does the age-old practice of circuit dealing — an unethical way for chain exhibitors to muscle studios — still persist? Anthony D’Alessandro digs further into this taboo topic: What is circuit dealing, exactly? It’s a predatory film booking practice whereby multiplex chains strong-arm studios for product in a specific market. If a studio decides to book with the competition in a given community, usually a Mom-and-Pop venue, then the exhibitor will threaten to bar that film (or future films) from playing the entire chain.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 27, 2011 11:38 AM
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Geeking Out with Cameron at the 3D Summit: Titanic, Avatar, Theme Parks

This week, in his Immersed in Movies column, Bill Desowitz talks to James Cameron at the 3D Summit. Don't try to convince James Cameron that 3-D is faltering. He's still a true believer, despite some recent 3-D blowback. He laughed if off as growing pains and negative media spin at the 3D Entertainment Summit this week at the Hollywood & Highland Center, but said it's nothing that can't be fixed with a change of perception and better 3-D authoring and presentation.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 23, 2011 5:14 AM
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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

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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Oscar Watch: How Weta Gives Rise to the Planet of the Apes; Andy Serkis as Lon Chaney

One of the debates on Twitter Friday morning was which movie will be the one to the beat for this year's VFX Oscar? Michael Bay's 3-D Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which set out to challenge James Cameron's 3-D Avatar, or Terrence Malick's spacey The Tree of Life? Now a new summer movie has entered the Oscar fray: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Bill Desowitz reports:Hail Caesar!
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 5, 2011 5:43 AM
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Delivers: Jaw-Dropping Weta Effects, Strong Reviews

It is a mystery why Twentieth Century Fox took so long to unveil Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is such a strong summer entry that it might have built up some loud advance buzz. The filmmakers were likely so anxious about the quality of the VFX that they waited until the last minute for improvements. They needn't have worried. This is not another cynical cookie-cutter sequel or remake.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2011 5:44 AM
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Trailer Watch: George Lucas's World War II Aerial Ballet Red Tails Debuts January 20

We've been waiting a while for producer George Lucas's take on the World War II Tuskegee airmen, now set for release by Twentieth Century Fox on January 20, 2012. Anthony Hemingway (Treme, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica) directs a script by John Ridley (Three Kings) and a sprawling ensemble led by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Andre Royo (The Wire). Produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson, the film boasts a score by frequent Spike Lee composer Terence Blanchard.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2011 8:29 AM
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Media Watch: Murdoch Update; Brooks Resigns; Murdoch's Apology UPDATED

Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, has resigned. Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, during the time that the phone of murder victim Milly Dowler was hacked. In her interoffice memo, deciphered line by line by The Guardian, Brooks claims that she resigned because she was a distraction in the media, writing: “My desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate.” Another resignation in the phone scandal story reveals the growing pressure on Murdoch's beleaguered U.K. media group. Here's a colorful Guardian Brooks profile.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • July 15, 2011 4:59 AM
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Summer in Sun Valley: Moguls Convene at Herb Allen's, Murdoch Ducks

It's been hard for NewsCorp. chairman Rupert Murdoch to relax this week at investment banker Herb Allen's 29th annual Sun Valley mogul retreat, which launched July 5 and lasts for five days. Murdoch is under too much fire with the News of the World bugging scandal threatening to derail his long-planned BSkyB takeover bid--even after he opted to kill the tabloid.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2011 12:32 PM
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