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Thompson on Hollywood

Laika Unveiling 'The Boxtrolls' at Venice

Laika. The people behind 2009's "Coraline" and 2012's "Paranorman" will soon make their return with "The Boxtrolls." Ahead of their September 26 release, Focus Features will have it premiere at this year's Venice International Film Festival, screening out of competition.
  • By Nick Newman
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  • July 24, 2014 9:37 PM
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As 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Heads Toward Release, Universal Is Calling Shots (FIRST LOOK)

As the movie version of the bestselling erotic novel "50 Shades of Grey" heads for release on February 13, 2015, the Focus Features marketing is starting to roll out. The sexy Interview cover and less provocative headshot of Jamie Dornan, the Northern Irish actor ("Once Upon a Time") finally cast as S & M master Christian Grey, were duly unveiled on Facebook.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 18, 2014 6:00 PM
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Ten Promising Projects to Watch for at the Cannes Market This Year

The Cannes Film Festival is open for business. Here are ten promising projects to look out for.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • May 14, 2014 4:01 PM
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  • 3 Comments

New Focus. Not the Same as Old Focus.

Brands and labels mean a lot in Hollywood. It's about building up the perception of value. How has MGM stayed in business all these years? So when a venerated label throws away its value it makes me crazy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 2, 2014 1:11 PM
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End of an Era: Only Woman Studio Distribution Chief Nikki Rocco To Step Down

When the first --and only--female distribution chief at a major studio lasts for 18 years at her job, she's damned good at it. Well, Universal Pictures distribution president Nikki Rocco is finally stepping down at the end of 2014 after 47 years at the studio--it's the only place she ever worked.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 22, 2014 3:50 PM
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As CinemaCon Wraps, Hollywood Needs to Learn Popcorn Time (Studio Roundups, DEMO VIDEO)

We wrap up studio-by-studio takeaways from the exhibitor convention CinemaCon in Las Vegas, as movie theaters and studios are stuck in an old paradigm. And then there's Popcorn Time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 28, 2014 8:58 PM
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Universal Shuts Down Production on 'Fast & Furious 7,' LA County Coroner Deems Car Crash Deaths Accidental

Universal has halted production on "Fast & Furious 7" in order to figure out how to proceed with the production without valued cast member Paul Walker, who died last weekend of thermal injuries in a fatal car accident.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 4, 2013 2:11 PM
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How Indies 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'Out of the Furnace' Got Made: Relativity's Robbie Brenner Talks Bale, McConaughey and Leto

Relativity's Robbie Brenner backed two movies in the year-end awards derby, "Out of the Furnace" and "Dallas Buyers Club."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 3, 2013 7:20 PM
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Schlessel Reshapes Focus Features: Loses Karpen and Foley, Keeps Brody and Bowles (ANALYSIS)

The new CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel, has wasted no time reconfiguring two distributors, FilmDistrict and Focus, into one. By insisting on shutting down the Focus New York branch, he lost several valuable executives including Focus COO Andrew Karpen, who was asked to stay on. Schlessel aims to broaden Focus by expanding its film slate to include a greater number of both specialty and wide-release genre fare. He's putting in charge of the company his key FilmDistrict execs, but leaving Focus production president Jeb Brody--who happens to have a key role in "Fifty Shades of Grey," in charge of that function.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2013 5:22 PM
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'Fifty Shades of Grey' Brings on Writer Patrick Marber for Script Polishing; Search for New Christian Grey Continues UPDATED

UPDATE: On the heels of star Charlie Hunnam dropping out of "Fifty Shades of Grey," leaving the Universal/Focus Features production to find a new Christian Grey STAT, it's been announced the film has brought on Oscar-nominated scribe Patrick Marber ("Notes on a Scandal") to do some clean-up work on the script.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • October 15, 2013 11:52 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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