R.I.P. Aron Abrams

By | Wednesday December 29, 2010 @ 10:15am PST

Aron Abrams was a Los Angeles TV comedy writer with credits including Everybody Hates Chris, Grounded For Life, and 3rd Rock From The Sun. 2ND UPDATE: His friends now tell Deadline that Abrams died of a heart attack on Christmas Day during a family vacation on the Big … Read More »

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IMAX Box Office Almost Doubles For 2010

By | Wednesday December 29, 2010 @ 9:53am PST

According to the current estimated 2010 figures for IMAX box office to date, I’m told that grosses essentially doubled compared to 2009 with North American theatrical film grosses for 2010 about $544 million (compared to 2009 at $270 million).

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Tuesday: Holiday Box Office Update

WEDNESDAY AM: Here are unofficial numbers from my sources for Tuesday’s box office as the holidays continue. The Weinstein Co’s Blue Valentine (4 theaters), and Sony Pictures Classics’ Another Year (6 theaters) both open today. Christmas weekend actuals are here:

1. The Little Fockers (Universal) Week 1 [3,536 Theaters]
Monday $8.4M, Tuesday … Read More »

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Spider-Man: Spinning Web Of Drama, Or Spinning Out Of Control?

Mike Fleming

The saga of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark continues to spin a web of intrigue that has little to do with building positive momentum toward its February opening. The saddest development is that Natalie Mendoza, poised to make her … Read More »

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Host Kevin Pollak’s TV Game Show Curse

By | Tuesday December 28, 2010 @ 11:21pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: At Twitter, Kevin Pollak replies:

Really, I’ve enjoyed your insights/musings for quite a while, but your angle on my recent work/luck has me questioning yours.

Kevin Pollak is a respected actor-comedian with memorable turns in such movies as The Usual Suspects, A Few God Men and Miami Rhapsody. But in just the past year he signed on to host not one but two TV game shows which then became mired in controversy. The most recent is Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop which aired during the most recent Christmas week and erupted in an on-air gaffe that cost one couple $800,000. But a year ago Pollak surprised many when he agreed to host Fox’s Our Little Genius. True, it had all the makings of a sure thing: big-name producer – Mark Burnett; killer time slot – airing behind TV’s top show American Idol; and adorable kid prodigies showing off their knowledge for cash prizes. But then, only 5 days before Our Little Genius was to premiere last January 5th, Fox abruptly pulled the show at the request of Burnett over suspicions of contestant tampering. Controversy ensued, and the 8 produced episodes never saw the light of day (though Burnett paid the winners their prizes).

Fast forward to this November: Pollak signed on for a second turn as a game show host on Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop. This one seemed foolproof: it was based on a British format that had run without a hitch, there were no kids involved, and the show Read More »

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Disneyland Turning Away Visitors At Gates

By | Tuesday December 28, 2010 @ 4:34pm PST

It’s a nice problem to have if you’re the Walt Disney Co — but not if you’re trying to visit the Anaheim theme parks. I’m told that both yesterday and today Disneyland began turning away would-be visitors within hours of opening and … Read More »

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Sundance Welcomes Back ‘Open Water’ Duo With Late Addition ‘Silent House’

Mike Fleming

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival has added another world premiere. Silent House, a thriller by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau will debut out of competition in the Midnight section. It’s a return to the festival for the filmmakers, who brought Open Water to the festival in 2004 and watched it … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Univision Claims Another Nightly Win With ‘Soy’ Finale

Nellie Andreeva

The finale of Univision’s hot telenovela Soy Tu Duena led the Spanish-language broadcaster to a nightly win among all broadcast networks on Monday in the adults 18-49 demographic. (ESPN was likely the top network overall with Monday Night Football.) Paced … Read More »

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Monday: Better Box Office Despite Blizzards

MONDAY PM/TUESDAY AM UPDATE: Here are unofficial numbers from my sources for Monday’s box office as the holidays continue. Christmas weekend actuals are here:

1. The Little Fockers (Universal) [3,536 Theaters]
Monday $8.3M, Cume $53.4M
2. True Grit (Paramount) … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Other Woman’

By | Tuesday December 28, 2010 @ 5:09am PST
Mike Fleming

Black Swan Oscar contender Natalie Portman seems to be everywhere. She plays the heroine in the upcoming Universal comedy Your Highness opposite James Franco and Danny McBride, and stars opposite Chris Hemsworth in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Marvel film Thor, released May 6th. Here’s a new trailer for one that’s been … Read More »

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Wikileaker Julian Assange Claims Memoirs Deal Worth $1.5 Million

By | Tuesday December 28, 2010 @ 4:56am PST
Mike Fleming

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, out on bail after an arrest for an alleged sex crime, has made a deal to write his memoirs for Random House’s Alfred A. Knopf label, and UK’s Canongate Books. More territorial sales will bring in … Read More »

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National Film Registry’s 25 Films For 2010

Mike Fleming

The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress has made its annual addition of 25 films to be preserved for their position as American cultural touchstones. This year, the Film Registry honored the work of the late Leslie Nielsen … Read More »

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Why These Could Be The Last SAG Awards

Nellie Andreeva

They’re still called the SAG Awards. But the upcoming 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild show on January 30th could just as easily be called the AFTRA Awards in terms of television. That’s because an increasing number of categories, especially among … Read More »

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Warner Bros Confirms Stunt Driver Injured On ‘The Hangover Pt II’ Location In Bangkok

By | Monday December 27, 2010 @ 4:30pm PST

UPDATE: I’m told this was a “planned, choreographed, rehearsed” stunt sequence, and that the car crashing into the truck was “entirely accidental” and not part of the stunt. The doctors have Scott McLean in an induced coma to aid in his recovery and that the info received by the studio so … Read More »

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UPDATE: Martin Scorsese Lends Name To Amnesty International Protest Of Prison Sentences For Iranian Filmmakers

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Martin Scorsese, who spoke out in support of Jafar Panahi both when he was first arrested and right after he was convicted, has added his support to the petition being circulated by Amnesty International. His participation … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Big Turnout For Kobe-LeBron Showdown

By | Monday December 27, 2010 @ 12:50pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The much hyped  faceoff between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James delivered big ratings for ABC. The Christmas Day game between Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers drew a 6.4 fast national rating. This was a 45% increase vs. last year’s … Read More »

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Blizzards Slow Xmas Weekend Box Office: FEW HOLIDAY GIFTS: ‘Little Fockers’ Soft; ‘True Grit’ Surprise #2; ‘Tron 3D’ Only #3; ‘Gulliver’s Travels 3D’ Bombs As Expected

MONDAY UPDATE: Actuals are in for the Christmas weekend, and the East Coast blizzards took their toll on box office. All the numbers were down 5% to 10% from studio projections, and Sunday’s moviegoing in the Northeast fell about 40%:

Top 10 Actuals
1. The Little Fockers (Universal) [3,536 Theaters]
Weekend $30.8M, Cume $45M
2. True Grit (Paramount) [3,047 Theaters]
Weekend $24.8M, Cume $36M
3. Tron: Legacy 3D (Disney) [3,451 Theaters]
Weekend $19.1M, Cume $87.3M
4. Chronicles Of Narnia 3D (Fox) [3,350 Theaters]
Weekend $9.4M, Cume $62.5M
5. Yogi Bear 3D (Warner Bros) [3,515 Theaters]
Weekend $7.8M, Cume $35.8M
6. The Fighter (Relativity/Paramount) [2,511 Theaters]
Weekend $7.6M, Cume $26.6M
7. Tangled 3D (Disney) [2,582 Theaters]
Weekend $6.4M, Cume $143.6M
8. Gulliver’s Travels 3D (Fox) [2,546 Theaters]
2-Day Weekend $6.3M, Cume $6.3M
9. Black Swan ( Fox Searchlight) [1,466 Theaters]
Weekend $6.2M, Cume $28.6M
10. The Tourist (GK Films/Sony) [2,756 Theaters]
Weekend $5.4M, Cume $40.8M Read More »

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SAG Awards Ballots To Mail December 30

By | Monday December 27, 2010 @ 6:37am PST
Mike Fleming

In a year when all the acting categories are the most wide open they have been in memory, the Screen Actors Guild is ready to get its membership to vote on the SAG Awards. Here is the info:

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 27, 2010) – Voting information to select the recipients

Read More »

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OSCAR: Best Director Race May Surprise

Pete Hammond

At the last Academy Awards, Barbra Streisand ripped open the envelope and revealed that Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman ever to win Best Director. No such groundbreaking moment is expected this year, but the category could offer up several surprises. With a wide open Oscar race, there’s probably a split in the offing between Picture and Director, two categories which traditionally pair up three-quarters of the time. But not always. Voters in the earliest Oscars didn’t believe strongly in a correlation between the Best Picture of the year and the person directing from behind the camera. Since then, there have been scattered years where that aberration occurred (such as for Hamlet, All the King’s Men, An American in Paris, and The Greatest Show on Earth). For Driving Miss Daisy, its director Bruce Beresford wasn’t even nominated. Going by recent history, the split has happened fairly frequently, culminating when Ang Lee took Best Director for Brokeback Mountain but Crash proved an upset Best Picture winner. Will another director be left at Oscar’s altar this year? Will The King’s Speech or The Fighter triumph, while David Fincher for The Social Network or Christopher Nolan for Inception wears the directing crown? An early signal will be the Directors Guild of America choice on January 29th. That group has a strong track record predicting the Director Oscar. Only six times since the DGA awards began in 1948 has the Guild and Academy not aligned. Here’s the alphabetical lineup of likely contenders and their chances this year:

BEN AFFLECK, The Town (Warner Bros.) – This Best Original Screenplay co-winner earned impressive notices for his first directing gig, Gone Baby Gone, and this year’s box office success, The Town, which he also co-wrote and stars in. He has won strong industry respect for his work behind the camera, but is a long shot to make the magic five. However, it looks like he’s becoming the new Clint, and that could eventually lead to his second Oscar — as a director.

DARREN ARONOFSKY, Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) – His intense indie films pull no punches. Now his dark and twisted Black Swan has dazzled the autumn fest circuit and became Fox Searchlight’s biggest box-office opener ever. Although its critical reception has been strong, it may be too much for more conservative Academy members. Nevertheless, Aronofsky’s eye-popping work here could impress enough of his peer group to land a spot in the top five.

DANNY BOYLE, 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) – The well liked Boyle comes off his 2008 Oscar triumph, Slumdog Millionaire, with this unexpected follow-up. Using dazzling directorial tricks, styling with visual invention, and guiding star James Franco, Boyle pulls off this virtual one-man show. But some voters may be too squeamish to pop the DVD in their players after reports of faintings at early screenings. Plus, he just won, so it may be someone else’s turn.

LISA CHOLODENKO, The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features) – Previous films High Art and Laurel Canyon didn’t prepare the Industry for her confident work as director and co-writer of this warm and perceptive comedy. Showing she could assure superlative performances from major stars should further impress colleagues. But the notoriously male dominated directors’ club may not be ready to make it two in a row for her. An Original Screenplay nod is her best shot.

DEREK CIANFRANCE, Blue Valentine (The Weinstein Company) – This very personal study of the disintegration of a marriage was 12 years in the making for Cianfrance. His first feature, he elicited no-holds-barred acting from leads Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. Problem is, it may be too raw and intimate, which could overshadow the achievement. But here’s hoping it doesn’t take as long for this promising director’s second movie to reach the screen.

JOEL COEN & ETHAN COEN, True Grit (Paramount) – The Academy loves this prodigious writing/directing/producing team and have already honored them with four Oscars each, including one in this category. Can a remake of a John Wayne classic put them in contention again? The execution is flawless, and they have returned to Charles Portis’ original novel for inspiration while drawing first-rate performances. But Westerns don’t usually score for directors.

SOFIA COPPOLA, Somewhere (Focus Features) – Coppola lost Best Director for Lost In Translation in 2003 but won for her original screenplay. This latest film represents her second original screenplay and should be put in the writing category, but not necessarily in the directors’ circle again — although she did take the top prize at the Venice Film Festival (amid controversy because her pal Quentin Tarantino was head of the jury). No such problems now.

CLINT EASTWOOD, Hereafter (Warner Bros.) – A two time Best Director winner for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, Eastwood can never be counted out. He didn’t make the cut for his last two attempts, Gran Torino and Invictus. His latest, Hereafter, drew mixed reviews and disappointing box office, so he’s a Director’s category dark horse at best this year. Though, never underestimate the respect from his peers for this 80-year-old icon.

DAVID FINCHER, The Social Network (Sony Pictures) – The director behind such dark but acclaimed films like Seven, Fight Club, Panic Room, and Zodiac finally found an Oscar nod with the challenging crowd-pleaser The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and now this successful Facebook-founding flick. Critics’ plaudits are piling up, and he’s back in the heat of the race, this time going for the win from Sweden where he’s rebooting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Read More »

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