Living in a 'Ghost Town'

Add Comment on January 18, 2009 by Marco Cerritos

David Koepp is primarily known as a talented Hollywood screenwriter but has recently turned his sights on directing. When I ask him what the biggest misconception of a screenwriter is, his answer is shockingly frank. “A lot of the cliches happen to be true. A lot of reviewers confuse what is a screenwriter’s work from what is a director’s work but that is such a complex issue you kind of have to be on the inside to be able to tell the difference.” Koepp has been a working screenwriter for several years, collaborating primarily with Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian DePalma.

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'500 Days' Builds Buzz

Add Comment on January 18, 2009 by Ray Greene

Lightning finally struck at Sundance last night, electrifying an audience inside the massive Eccles Theatre after watching Marc Webb's "anti-romantic comedy" 500 Days of Summer, and raising them to their feet in a standing ovation. Take it with a grain of salt if you must, since the film's multi-talented star Zooey Deschanel was on hand alongside her director, co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the films writers Scott Neustader and Michael Weber, which plainly creates a certain rooting interest. But every film at a Sundance public screening has stars and filmmakers on hand, and few get this kind of instant response. How do I know? I know because I wasn't there.

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Barack Obama, Movie Star

Add Comment on January 16, 2009 by BOXOFFICE Staff

When Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President next Tuesday, many political junkies across America will be munching on popcorn. MSNBC has partnered with Screenvision to broadcast the ceremony live in movie theatres from New York to California. The public reaction has been strong so far. Tickets for the event are free and seven locations are already sold out, which means that interested Obama supporters in certain markets are now no longer able to sign up to receive a free pass. Those sold-out locations are: Clearview Ch...

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In a word: plenty. That it still matters, first and foremost. Not only because the “indie” or “specialty” or what-you-will market for “art” films peaked years ago and is now basically a ghost town version of itself but because Sundance has proven to be such a negligible force within what remains of the indie market since the widely derided slate of Sundance mediocrities debuted in 2008. Now that we’re in awards season, are there any prominent Sundance ’08 premieres that made the “best of” lists and grabbed the big awards? A case could be made for the doc Man on Wire – which is splendid and shared an IDA “best doc” trophy with Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir – but that’s about it.

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Hoping for B.I.G. Box Office Returns

Add Comment on January 14, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace has now received the bigscreen treatment thanks to Notorious, a new film from Fox Searchlight that opens on Friday. Recently, music-themed biopics have performed pretty well at the box office. The likes of Ray and Walk the Line were able to catch on with mainstream audiences, and in the process they even went on to win some Oscar gold. In 2004, Ray grossed an impressive $75.3 million domestically, which translates to about $86 million when adjusted for inflation.

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Predicting 2009's Sleeper Hits

Add Comment on January 12, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Looking at what 2009 has in store for moviegoers, it's fairly easy to predict which films will deliver at the box office. 2009 is a year full of sequels, which means that there may be less surprises than usual. Everyone in the film industry is pretty much in agreement that films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Transformers: Rise of the Fallen, Terminator: Salvation and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs are going to be huge hits. What about the sleepers? You know, those films that deliver at the box office even though they didn't find their way to the top of blockbuster prediction lists.

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Top Dog

Add Comment on January 12, 2009 by Amy Nicholson

Thor Freudenthal is a filmmaker with nerve. For his first big-budget studio feature, the young commercial and short-film director took on one of the most daunting challenges imaginable: 100 panting, drooling dogs looking toward him (or his surrogate, their trainers) for guidance. Based on the book by best-selling kids’ author Lois Duncan, Hotel for Dogs is a canine-centric romp about 16-year-old Andi (Emma Roberts) and her younger brother Bruce (Jake T. Ryan) – two headstrong orphans failed by the foster care system who decide to build their own version of the white picket dream home out of an abandoned hotel and all the stray dogs they can wrangle.

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