It's been three years since Avatar made a bazillion dollars and made Hollywood see dollar signs and resolve to convert to or film every next big release in 3D. And it's been two years since many of those same studio heads realized that strategy wouldn't work for every movie. Audiences began to shy away from theaters over rising ticket prices and poor 3D experiences, but nevertheless, the illusion still works on the random occasions when audiences turn out for a 3D pic. But when they don't, it's up to the international market to save the day.
Now we're at a stage in the game where 3D has become an excuse to re-release past box office hits.
Somewhere in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein is sending the world's glitziest gift basket to Katie Holmes. The actress's very abrupt, very public divorce from her famous Scientologist husband was not only this summer's most scandalous gossip item (sorry, Robsten), but also the biggest blow to the Church, already smarting from a summer of pain. Scientology has never enjoyed great mainstream press, but the religious org took hit after hit these past few months, all of which shaped into a kind of stealth marketing campaign for The Master (read our review here). Directed by P.T. Anderson (There Will Be Blood), The Master looks at how a young, troubled WWII veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) falls under the spell of a L.Read more
Walking into the humble production office of Franklin, Tennessee-based Seabourne Pictures quickly establishes that this is a place where serious movie fans do what they love most. Blade Runner and Jurassic Park posters adorn the hallway, and desks are crowded with movie memorabilia. It could pass for a 12-year-old's bedroom, if not for the editing bay and the standees for the company's own film, After. It's clear writer/director Ryan Smith and producer Brandon Gregory love what they do.
Seabourne was founded back in 2004, and Smith then began developing After based on his own script about two bus crash survivors who wake up to find they are the only people left in their familiar town of Pearl.
Why is Hollywood so terrible at telling stories about artists? This week's Bradley Cooper vehicle, The Words, is extremely clumsy at discussing the whole thing at the center of its conceit: writing novels. One reviewer said it's like a movie about books written by someone who doesn't read them. Ouch. Of course, singling it out for scorn isn't entirely fair. The Words is only the latest in a chain of poor depictions of creativity that go back almost to the beginnings of cinema itself. But let's just pick on movies from the last 15 years.
Take the 1998 Oscar Wilde biopic Wilde, for instance.
Klugman [L] and Cooper go in for a hug at THE WORDS' Sundance premiere
This isn't a story where a big name actor and a first time director butt heads on the set of a Sundance drama. "We're in love with each other," jokes Bradley Cooper. Or really, it's no joke. He and director Brian Klugman have been friends since childhood, so when it came time for Klugman—an actor himself—to finally shoot a script he's been trying to get made for a decade, it just made sense that Cooper would play the lead. That film, The Words, opens this month and stars Cooper as Rory Jansen, an aspiring novelist and newlywed (to the gorgeous Zoe Saldana) who finds a 70-year-old handwritten manuscript in a vintage briefcase and can't resist passing it off as his own.
Summer's over, folks. And to describe the box office of 2012's dog days as a roller-coaster somehow isn't even apt enough.
Before May, the industry was knee-deep in a strong first four months of the year following the massive success of The Hunger Games and other break-out hits such as The Lorax, Safe House and The Vow. January was stronger than expected following a very weak holiday season, and February carried the momentum forward with over $814 million in domestic revenue—the all-time best for February (though not quite a record in actual tickets sold).
THE AMBASSADOR, our favorite flick of the week
THE TALL MAN
While playing a teenager in a semi-religious family show, Jessica Biel got slapped on the wrist for appearing in Playboy. But now she's old enough to play a mother—a young widow, even—who loses her child and slips into an obsessive pursuit of a local urban legend. Seems kids in her small town have been abducted like clockwork, so perhaps "The Tall Man" could be to blame. But the monster may be a cover for an even more nefarious happening, perhaps someone with Playboy back issues under their mattress.
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writers: Pascal Laugier