Coen Brothers, Focus Reach New Heights

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By Phil Contrino With the #1 opening of Burn After Reading this past weekend, both the Coen Brothers and the film's distributor, Focus Features, have set new opening weekend highs for themselves. Up until Reading, the Coen Brothers' biggest opening weekend had come from 2004's The Ladykillers with $12.6 million. While many Coen Brothers films open in platform release, Ladykillers landed at 1,583 locations during its opening frame.

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Gervais Talks 'Ghost Town'

Add Comment on September 15, 2008 by Phil Contrino

By Chad Greene “This is Ricky Gervais,” says the voice on the telephone. “Obviously,” I reply. My intent is not to come off as curt, but to reference the opening line of The Ricky Gervais Show, listed in Guinness World Records 2007 as the Most Downloaded Podcast: “I’m Ricky Gervais … obviously.” But there is silence on the other end of the line. Only a split second passes, but it’s time enough for a terrifying thought to occur to me: That I’ve just given a comic genius who’s built an empire out of awkwardness all the material he needs.

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Exclusive: Oliver Stone Talks 'W.'

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By Chad Greene “So I’m Gilligan?” Oliver Stone asks, still puzzling over recent White House statements comparing the director of the upcoming presidential biopic W. to the main character of a ’60s sitcom. Strange statements out of the West Wing aren’t rarities, of course. Especially since the election in 2000 of President George W. Bush, a man so prone to malapropisms that members of the media long ago coined the term “Bushisms” to describe tortured declarations such as “they misunderestimated me.

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Exclusive: Josh Brolin on 'W.'

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By Chad Greene As did W. before him, Josh Brolin has followed his father into Oval Office. Back in 2003, James Brolin earned Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations for portraying President Ronald Reagan in the miniseries The Reagans. But even though they both followed in their father’s footsteps professionally, Josh Brolin says that slim similarity didn’t take him too far in his attempt to understand George W. Bush on a human level. “I tried to latch...

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Slumping In September

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By Phil Contrino After a record-setting summer that brought with it the extreme success of films such as The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man, the overall box office has just experienced one of its worst weekends in a long time. Final box office figures for the weekend of September 5 to September 7 are expected to come in at $66 million and the last time numbers were that low was during the weekend of 9/5/03, when the David Spade comedy Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star finished in first place with $6.6 million.

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Robert De Niro Interview

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By Richard Mowe He has been labeled as a legendary perfectionist who has a confirmed belief that there is an inextricable link between life and art. Robert De Niro, 65, has emerged as one of the great screen actors of his generation, a two-time Oscar winner with such landmark films as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull and he has successfully gone behind the camera. De Niro has always been notoriously reticent about his private life. Although part Irish,

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Studio Report Card: Universal

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By Phil Contrino Teacher's Pets: While Universal didn't have any massive blockbusters this summer, they were still able to release some solid money makers. Wanted, the hitman thriller starring James McAvoy and Anjelina Jolie, was able to gross $133 million domestically and it certainly planted the seeds for the launch of a new franchise. If it performs well on DVD, then Universal may push forward with a new installment.

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