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26 Dec 2011 10:43


U.S.: 2011 box-office’s big drop: Major stars, horror flicks, family films flop

  • $500 million the expected drop in box office between 2010 and 2011
  • 4.5% decline the fall in box office this year, partly blamed on the lack of “Avatar”
  • hits The biggest hit of 2011? “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” which scored $381 million in the U.S. alone. The latest “Transformers” and “Twilight” movies also scored this year.
  • bombs On a $150 million budget, “Mars Needs Moms” only made $39 million worldwide. Horror films struggled, and even major stars like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts were no longer bankable.
  • surprises The two biggest were “Bridesmaids” (a female-focused twist on the Apatow film) and “The Help,” both of which had solid box-office runs. The secret? Both were aimed at older audiences. source
  • » Better news in 2012? Possibly. With such high-profile films as “The Hunger Games” and a remake of “21 Jump Street” hitting the theaters, it’s entirely possible that 2012 could hold up way better than 2011. And as “The Lion King” showed this year, 3D remakes are proving to be especially financially sound. Two fairly large ones — “Star Wars: Episode One” and “Beauty and the Beast” — will hit the box office in 2012.

02 Aug 2011 16:37


Culture: DreamWorks CEO speaks out about why movies suck

  • Let’s have a semi-realistic rat in a kitchen cooking shit to eat. No one in their right mind is going to say, ‘Well, that’s a good idea.’ It’s a bad idea, but it’s so beautiful in its execution and such a great piece of storytelling. And actually, I think it’s one of the great pieces of animation of our time.
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation • In a really good speech about why movies today suck. Here he’s saying that “Ratatouille” was a bad idea that was executed perfectly, but most movies today are focused too much on marketability. That is, producers don’t care so much about the story, they only care about how much money they can make out of it. Katzenberg goes on to say that movies should get better, based on consumer response to the crap that’s come out lately.  source

22 Jun 2011 21:19


Tech: 3Dcrease: New glasses take you back to two dimensions

  • If you think 3D movies are gimmicky, ubiquitous, and annoyingly underlit, you’re right. You’re also in luck, as these Rivers Cuomo-esque glasses will eliminate that third dimension from 3D films, making you feel as if you’re back in the pre-Avatar days of moviegoing. They don’t work on most home systems, but really, who would buy a 3DTV and then get glasses to make it a normal TV? For that matter, who would buy a 3DTV at all, for any reason? source

22 May 2011 15:36


Culture: Latest “Pirates of the Carribean”: Big in the U.S., bigger worldwide

  • $90 million opening for Johnny Depp’s latest meal ticket
  • $46M the amount the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” made in its opening weekend
  • $135M the amount “Dead Man’s Chest” opened at — the most successful of the franchise
  • $114M the amount “At World’s’ End” opened at; it had a bigger foreign gross than the first two source
  • » Look beyond the U.S.: While it wasn’t a super-impressive opening weekend compared to other “Pirates of the Carrribean” movies, worldwide it’s a juggernaut — earning over $256 million this weekend alone, which is the largest foreign weekend ever. Also of note: It’s still the largest domestic opening weekend of the year so far, which we credit to Michael Bolton being a major cinephile.

21 Nov 2010 12:25


Culture: Latest Harry Potter scores massive box-office opening

  • $125.1
    the amount that the not-in-3D-at-all “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” made in its first weekend
  • $102.7
    the amount that the next highest opener in the series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” made in its first weekend in 2005 source
  • » One of the best openings of all-time: While it didn’t top 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” it did score the sixth-best opening of all-time and helped continue the series’ run as the most popular franchise in Hollywood history. What’s a Hogwart?

20 Nov 2010 11:28


Culture: New Harry Potter movie casts spell on everyone except us

  • $24
    the amount “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” made in its midnight showings Thursday
  • $61.1
    the amount the film made in its first full day in theaters – the fifth biggest single-day gross ever source

24 Oct 2010 12:43


Culture: “Paranormal Activity 2” no “Blair Witch”-style flash in the pan

  • $41.5
    the amount “Paranormal Activity 2” made in its first weekend; the first film, released a year ago, had a “Blair Witch”-style theatrical run
  • $13.3
    the amount the unsuccessful “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” made in its first weekend; it made just $26 million in its entire run source
  • » Another thing to point out: The theatrical run of the first “Paranormal Activity” has the distinction of making a huge amount of money in a small number of theaters. In its third weekend, it made $7.6 million in just 160 theaters, scoring an unheard-of $49,379 per-theater average. And they didn’t even need 3D to pull it off, either. They just needed $15,000 and a great gimmick.

19 Sep 2010 21:21


Culture: Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury: Why the heck not?

  • He needed another direction, so why not Freddie Mercury? Sacha Baron Cohen’s films – specifically “Borat” and “Bruno” are entertaining in a very painful way, but it’s the kind of amazing trick that only works for so long. First, people will figure out it’s you. Second, it’s the kind of joke that can get old very quick – comparing “Borat” to “Bruno” on Metacritic is a major hint that the joke fell flat. We like the idea of Cohen playing the Queen singer – he has no issues with playing flamboyant gay characters, wearing spandex, or with growing over-the-top mustaches. Plus, the director on deck, Peter Morgan, also directed “Frost/Nixon” and “The Last King of Scotland,” two rock-solid flicks from the last few years. Maybe this’ll be a great direction for him. source

14 Sep 2010 10:25


Culture: Facebook movie trip report: Zuckerberg’s a jerk in the film

  • It’s just as rough on the Facebook CEO as his people feared it would be. Not because of scandalous scenes involving sex and drugs–there aren’t many of those, and they’re quite tame. It’s because the film portrays him as an insecure jerk who screws over people and becomes a much-richer insecure jerk.
  • Wall Street Journal reporter Peter Kafka • Offering an early assessment of the most anticipated film of the season, “The Social Network.” While Kafka notes the rumored coke-and-boobs scene is fairly tame (no boobs anymore, sorry), he notes that the film may not be totally accurate. But it’s still a harsh image. “At the end of the movie,” he writes. “there’s a suggestion that Zuckerberg may not actually be a jerk–he may just be someone who acts like one. That’s about it when it comes to the upside of his character: He’s the bad guy in his own creation myth.” A creation myth directed by David Fincher. source

11 Sep 2010 11:58


Culture: Cancer survivor Roger Ebert’s bringing back “At the Movies”

  • Nobody can hold Roger Ebert down. The notable film critic, whose health problems (and amazing methods of working around them) have warmed the hearts of many in recent years, isn’t letting his condition hold him down. In fact, he’s bringing back his old “Two Thumbs Up” workhorse, this time in a return to its public-television roots. While he won’t be one of the two main critics (AP’s Christy Lemire and NPR’s Elvis Mitchell take those reins), Ebert will be featured in every episode, speaking in his newly-computerized voice. This rules. source