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Thompson on Hollywood

Jolie Considering Wanted 2

Right now, Universal Pictures needs a few good tentpoles, like Wanted 2. And right now they are sitting on pins and needles waiting for word to come back from Angelina Jolie, who is reading the new Wanted 2 script. Russian director Timur Bekmambetov has figured out a way to bring her ruthless assassin back from certain death in a sequel. But Jolie has to buy it first. And Universal will have to pay Jolie. She got $15 million last time. In a period when most movie star salaries are going down, hers is moving up.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 26, 2009 5:55 AM
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  • 15 Comments

Hollywood Health Report

Hollywood Health Report
Each day brings more news of a troubled company needing debt restructuring or a management overhaul. The Weinstein Co. and MGM are just the latest examples. All the studios face pressure from their corporate parents in a grim recession amid declining ad and DVD revenues. Sales are down across the board, including classic rereleases, and less precipitously, specialty titles.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 18, 2009 7:43 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Lee Revamps Ride with the Devil

In the stellar career of Ang Lee, one movie stands out like a sore thumb, not only as one of his few boxoffice clunkers, but as a film which he edited for a studio. "Of the 11 films I worked on with Ang, it's the only one that was not his cut," says Lee's longtime writer-collaborator James Schamus, who will appear with Lee onstage at the Walter Reade after the work-in-progress director's cut of Ride with the Devil screens August 10 during the Film Society at Lincoln Center's complete Lee retrospective.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 6, 2009 11:31 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Letter to the Studios: How Not to Market Adult Dramas

Here's the first of a series of pieces (which do not necessarily reflect my POV) by guest bloggers on various aspects of the entertainment industry. Now based in Nampa, Idaho, Mike Kaplan is a veteran filmmaker (Never Apologize) and marketer who has managed campaigns for Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Robert Altman (Short Cuts) among others. More recently, please note, Kaplan helped to introduce Clive Owen to American audiences with the sleeper hit Croupier and You'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Here's his argument for how the studios are killing adult dramas--through misguided marketing. Kaplan came up in a film industry that made producing and marketing films for grown-ups its first priority. That is no longer the case.
  • By Mike Kaplan
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  • August 5, 2009 9:34 AM
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  • 15 Comments

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit
Universal execs are heaving a huge sigh of relief with the $23.5 million estimated opening weekend for Judd Apatow's edgy comedy Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. The movie scored mixed reviews and played best for men. Women hated it . It's a pity that the studio wasn't able to help Apatow whip his sprawling two and half hour comedy into submission. The movie was ambitious, brilliant, dark and out of control, and I suspect the box office will fall steeply on word-of-mouth.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2009 7:25 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Public Enemies: Can Depp Save Mann's HD Biopic?

Universal is counting on one thing to open Michael Mann's Public Enemies: Johnny Depp. According to The Ulmer Scale, he's the second most popular movie star in the world, after Will Smith. That's based on his hugely successful roles as broadly comedic, over-the-top Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. But while Sweeney Todd wouldn't have done as well without him, Depp can only move the needle so far.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cannes: Winners and Losers

Who came out ahead and behind on their Cannes jaunt this year?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 31, 2009 3:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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