No. 1 ‘Blades Of Glory’ Ices Competition; 3-D ‘Meet The Robinsons’ Glides To 2nd

By | Saturday March 31, 2007 @ 7:44am PDT


SUNDAY AM: Cutting edge comedy Blades of Glory glided to No. 1 this weekend with a big $32 million opener on 3,372 theaters. Will Ferrell’s hot streak at the box office didn’t turn to ice, not with John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) perched on his shoulders — literally. I do think CBS is broadcasting its epic Final Four NCAA basketball tourney on Saturday hurt the DreamWorks/Paramount laugher’s box office. meetrobinsons1.JPGIn 2nd place, Disney’s CG-created Meet The Robinsons got a big Saturday kiddie matinee bounce to finish Friday-Saturday-Sunday with $24.6 mil on 3,413 venues. The toon from Disney’s own animation studio, not Pixar’s, had some 600 of its screens equipped with Disney’s brand new 3-D technology that’s a far cry from the old gimmicky red and green lenses. In 3rd place, Warner Bros.’s blockbuster battle epic 300 still made major moolah starting its 4th week out: it had a $11 mil weekend on 3,004 screens for a giant new cume of $179.5 mil. Another Warner Bros. holdover, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, grabbed the 4th spot this Friday-Saturday-Sunday with $9 mil (63% drop from last weekend) for a new cume of of $38.3 mil. Read More »

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UPDATE: Helicopters Saved The Day! Brush Fire Flaming Out Near Universal Theme Park & Famed Hollywood Sign

By | Friday March 30, 2007 @ 1:01pm PDT


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UPDATED: Helicopters dumping water along the ridgeline saved Hollywood! Only hot spots are burning now thanks to the seven choppers. But, for 1 1/2-hours today, an out of control 150-acre brush fire was … Read More »

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Weekend Box Office Analysis/Prediction: 1. Blades Of Glory, 2. Meet The Robinsons

By | Friday March 30, 2007 @ 12:27pm PDT

bladesofglory_bigreleaseposter1.jpgThis weekend’s box office matchup of same-sex figure skaters vs 3-D toon looks like it could be easy to predict: Dreamworks/Paramount’s Blades Of Glory #1 since it’s got reliable funnyman Will Ferrell and cult favorite John Heder … Read More »

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Test Screening Details On ‘The Simpsons’

By | Friday March 30, 2007 @ 10:27am PDT


Here’s more from that hush-hush Portland, Oregon, test screening of the hush-hush The Simpsons movie which is still a work-in-progress with only partial animation and in need of tweaks like Hans Zimmer’s score. Naturally, the attendees were forced to sign a multi-page nondisclosure agreement. Given all the secrecy, what does Fox think they have buried there: gold? Why, yes, box office gold! Who’s not gonna see this pic. And what summer blockbuster would be without a big sickening summer promotion. Right now, 7-11 and Fox are working on a deal to transform 11 of 4,700 stores across the U.S. to resemble the front of the Kwik-E-Marts selling some of Homer Simpson’s favorite snacks. Inside every 7-11 will be a bonanza of Simpsons characters hawking the food. And all 7-11 customers will be able to buy products inspired by the show, including KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola, and iced Squishees (the cup will say Squishee, but the contents will be Slurpee). But back to the test screening. My immense thanks to Shawn Levy of The Oregonian, whose source adds nice detail to the already posted brief write-up by a contributor to Ain’t It Cool News:

“A reliable informant sends the following: ‘I, too, attended the first public test screening last Tuesday night at the Lloyd. Matt Groening sat four seats away from us, James L. Brooks and a plethora of writers sat behind us in two rows. It was good but very rough. Lots of animatics, both pencil drawings, and CG match moves and storyboards. Pretty enjoyable all around though and a pretty amazing screening experience, perhaps one of the best of my life thus far. It’s in the top five at least. Here are a few more details:

  • simpsonsmovie_bigteaserposter1.jpgThe film was about 90 minutes + some more.
  • It was very rough in places with CG animatics and match move models of characters and then pencil sketches. Some were just story boards.
  • The plot of the film is like a big episode, but kept pretty straightforward and linear. Not a ton of wacky digressions, but the focus is on the family first and foremost.
  • The first 45-50 minutes are pretty tightly written and cut, with a lot of well structured ‘A’ jokes followed up very quickly by the smaller ‘B’ joke.
  • At this point, the film is pretty well mapped out and plotted, but still very very malleable.
  • I would say the most work needs to be done near the last third of the film. It just feels a bit fast in how it wraps up, otherwise, it’s a solid piece of entertainment.
  • There were more than a few points where I had to remind myself that I was watching a movie, not just an episode and they even make a few jokes about this too.
  • The film is in Scope/2.35:1 and makes a joke about this in the first 3-4 minutes.’”
  • Ain’t It Cool News contributor Biker-Boy wrote earlier about the test screening:

  • The film in its current form is massively unfinished; with, I would guess, around 30% of the film in the final hi-def, super sharp animation. The rest was divided between hand drawn storyboards, and low res, choppy colour animation.
  • The voice soundtrack was complete, but the musical score wasn’t.
  • simpsons2.jpgAll this probably means that, even if unchanged, the final print will maintain its pacing, excitement and charm a little better than the version we saw, as 2 or 3 hand-drawn storyboards don’t quite manage to convey all of the things which makes The Simpsons so special.
  • We did get a pretty good idea of what to expect though, and where the film makers are going with this big screen version. So what did I, a Simpsons appreciator of long standing, think of the movie? It’s excellent. Is it mind blowingly awesome? No, not quite. Almost, but not quite. At least not in it’s current form.
  • Read More »

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    Wannabe Big Media Moguls Fight For Trib

    By | Thursday March 29, 2007 @ 6:09pm PDT


    So Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle at the 11th hour are battling to buy Tribune Co. They’ve upped their offer to $34 a share, or one dollar more than real estate tycoon … Read More »

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    Will New Anti-Mormon Movie Hurt Mitt?

    By | Thursday March 29, 2007 @ 3:19pm PDT

    mittromney.jpgIt’s ridiculous to think an indie film depicting one of the darkest and most controversial events in Mormon history could ruin the campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate a Mormon. Even more ridiculous to think Hollywood is … Read More »

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    Diller Disses User-Generated Content As ‘Watching Cats Fry Grandmother’s Dog’

    By | Thursday March 29, 2007 @ 1:34pm PDT

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    That Hollywood-turned-Internet mogul Barry Diller disses user-generated content and thinks only professionals turn out the really good stuff able to attract big audiences. As usual, the arrogant SOB is very wordy, so I’ll clean up his … Read More »

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    Final Season For Ashton’s ‘Punk’d’ Pranks

    By | Thursday March 29, 2007 @ 12:50pm PDT

    ashton-kutcher-biography-3.jpgThis time, it’s no practical joke. Ashton Kutcher finally appears finished fooling famous people. Of course, MTV said Punk’d would end three years ago, but now it’s looking like this 8th season beginning April 10th will be the last. Among the … Read More »

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    ‘Hostel’ Eli Roth, Lover Of Torture Porn

    By | Wednesday March 28, 2007 @ 10:39pm PDT

    elianimation.gif“Hopefully, I’m not the Judd Nelson of the Splat Pack. Preferably, I’ll be the Rob Lowe.” So quips Hostel Part I and II writer/director Eli Roth, the gore icon whom Quentin Tarantino calls “the future of horror” and let do that fake trailer in Grindhouse. ”Quentin and Robert and the Weinstein Company love the trailer so much they’re already asking me, ‘Where’s the script for Thanksgiving?” Roth notes.) But it’s what Roth says next in an video interview during a car ride to New York’s Comic-Con that is the reason filmmakers like him make me nauseous. ”When I go see an R-rated horror movie, I want lots of violence. I want nudity. I want sex and violence mixed together, Roth says. “What’s wrong with that? Am I the only one? I don’t think so.” How comforting for me to know such disturbed human beings as Roth are innovating today’s horror flicks. Is it any wonder, then, that the gore and violent sex quotient is out of control in this movie genre? “Hopefully we’ll get to a point,” adds Roth, “where there are absolutely no restrictions on any kind of violence in movies. I’d love to see us get to a point where you can go to theaters and see movies unrated and that people know its not real violence.” So is there anything that can offend Roth? “I do feel like terms like ‘torture porn’ are offensive.” Roth rails that his sequel, Hostel: Part II, opens against George Clloney’s, Brad Pitt’s and Matt Damon’s caper pic sequel this June. ”It’s going to be the Splat Pack vs. the Rat Pack.” If you can fight back total revulsion, read the full Q-and-A.

    hostelpartii_teaserbig.jpgQ: You’re often lumped in with other young horror directors like James Wan (Saw) and Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes). Do you enjoy being associated with that group?
    Roth: We’ve been referred to as the Splat Pack, which I think is a cool title. Hopefully I’m not the Judd Nelson of the Splat Pack. Preferably I’ll be the Rob Lowe. We’re all just trying to bring back really bloody, violent, disgusting, sick horror movies.

    Q: It’s a noble pursuit.
    Roth: Yeah! I feel like in the ’90s, horror just lost its way and everything became so safe and watered-down. When I go see an R-rated horror movie, I want lots of violence. I want nudity. I want sex and violence mixed together. What’s wrong with that? Am I the only one? I don’t think so.

    Q: What kind of trajectory would you like to see horror take in the future?
    Roth: We’re in a really violent wave and I hope it never ends. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where there are absolutely no restrictions on any kind of violence in movies. I’d love to see us get to a point where you can go to theaters and see movies unrated and that people know its not real violence. It’s all pretend. It’s all fake. It’s just acting. It’s just magic tricks. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where people realize movies don’t cause violence. It just reflects the violence going on in the culture. I’d love to see us get to a point where you can make a movie and not worry about the limits of the violence. Then I think they’d get so violent that people would get bored of it. Read More »

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    ICM-Endeavor Fight For Book Agent Ends

    By | Wednesday March 28, 2007 @ 4:52pm PDT

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    The whole ICM-Endeavor feud over unlikeable book agent Richard Abate kinda bores me – except for all the juicy insults now directed that agent’s way. (…And the continuing perception that upstart Endeavor has the Big … Read More »

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    This Is The Other Best Little Whorehouse

    By | Wednesday March 28, 2007 @ 1:36pm PDT

    My latest lalogo.gif column, Dangerous Liaisions, describes how there’s been more massaging of connections in the Los Angeles Times‘ opinion section than a whorehouse after Grazergate, Rumsfeldgate and even Gatesgate. It calls Publisher/CEO David Hiller a moron … Read More »

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    Is This Guy The Newest Big Media Prince?

    By | Tuesday March 27, 2007 @ 2:11pm PDT


    UPDATE: Eli Broad and Ron Burkle look to be back in this endless bidding. Tribune Co. has responded to a request for additional financial information from the two Los Angeles billionaires.

    There’ve been lots of reports … Read More »

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    Jack Valenti Hospitalized After Stroke

    By | Tuesday March 27, 2007 @ 11:33am PDT

    jack-valenti-11.jpgNews coming in that Jack Valenti is hospitalized after a stroke. The former Hollywood lobbyist, 85, fell ill last week and remains at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore. in a statement, longtime pal Barry Meyer, the Warner … Read More »

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    Hillary Clinton Campaigning In South Park

    By | Monday March 26, 2007 @ 8:23pm PDT

    hillaryab.jpgComedy Central says Hillary Clinton is coming to South Park in this week’s episode, “The Snuke”. It sounds an awful lot like a parody episode of 24. Mixing it up with those foul-mouthed brats this Wednesday, Hillary is in town … Read More »

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    EXCLUSIVE: John Edwards Tells Hollywood All Candidates And Wives Called — Except Hill & Bill Clinton. UPDATE: Edwards Campaign Clarifies

    By | Monday March 26, 2007 @ 1:04pm PDT

    edwards3.jpgUPDATE: Here’s what the Edwards campaign has told me tonight on the record: “Senator Clinton called Senator Edwards on Friday, but they didn’t connect. That evening, someone asked him if he had spoken to her, and he Read More »

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    UPDATED: Who Were Guests And Who Were Reporters At Pellicano Wedding?

    By | Monday March 26, 2007 @ 12:15pm PDT

    UPDATED: I reported back on January 16th that indicted and imprisoned Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano and ex-wife Kat Pellicano, who divorced in 2002 after an 18-year marriage, were going to re-marry. Well, they tied the knot on Friday. A source tells me … Read More »

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    LA Times Kills Controversial Guest Editor Program After Rumsfeldgate/Grazergate

    “In response to inquiries about the status of the overall Los Angeles Times Guest Editor program, we are issuing the following from The Times Publisher, David D. Hiller: ’Although the Guest Editor program for the Current section was an innovative concept to bring more voices and diversity to Times’ readers, … Read More »

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    EXCLUSIVE: LA Times Publisher’s Friend And Tribune Co Ex-Director Don Rumsfeld Was Asked To Guest-Edit After Grazer

    By | Sunday March 25, 2007 @ 11:05am PDT

    rumsfeld.JPGUPDATE: Today, LAT Publisher/CEO David Hiller killed the guest editor program.

    EXCLUSIVE: It’s no longer Grazergate; it’s now Rumsfeldgate at the Los Angeles Times. I’m told that Donald Rumsfeld was asked to guest-edit the newspaper’s “Current” opinion … Read More »

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    Potter Teen Trio On Board Hogwarts Train

    By | Sunday March 25, 2007 @ 8:46am PDT

    traina2.JPGJust when Harry, Ron and Hermione agreed to finish out their school term at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the steam train that takes them there, the Hogwarts Express, was wrecked by vandals. The train was attacked … Read More »

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