Tag Archives: romantic comedy

Never Count Out Basterds—or Sandra Bullock


Never Count Out Basterds—or Sandra Bullock

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Sandra Bullock and Brad Pitt enjoyed what most movie stars don’t: A happy Labor Day.

During Hollywood’s weakest long weekend of the year, Bullock managed a respectable, $14 million Friday-Monday debut for the critically trashed All About Steve, while Pitt’s Inglourious Basterds marched toward $100 million with a $15 million four-day take.

The Final Destination, last weekend’s 3-D-boosted champ, was this weekend’s champ, too, with $15.4 million, Exhibitor Relations reported.

More results, plus how Tron outplayed Gamer:

• All About Steve will finish third, not second as projected Sunday, per Exhibitor Relations. The romantic comedy flip-flopped with Inglourious Basterds, which moved up a spot.

• Third place or second place, All About Steve didn’t bomb, despite a Tomatometer reading on Rotten Tomatoes of 5 percent. Yes, 5 percent. Just so you know, if you turn on a camera and film a wall and/or make The Dukes of Hazzard, you can rate a Tomatometer reading higher than 5 percent.

• Arguably even stranger but true, All About Steve made more money at each of its theaters than any movie in the Top 10.

• Maybe goodwill did it? All About Steve not only starred Bullock, hot off The Proposal, but Bradley Cooper, hot off The Hangover.

• To be sure, All About Steve isn’t exactly a career highlight for Bullock. It’s her lowest-grossing debut for a wide-release movie since 2002’s Murder By Numbers.

• Only one Quentin Tarantino movie has ever blown past $100 million. At $95.2 million after three weekends, Inglourious Basterds looks to soon join Pulp Fiction.

• From Friday-Sunday, Gerard Butler’s Gamer scored $9 million, Box Office Mojo said, which, given an average ticket price of $7.18, works out to about 1.2 million tickets sold. In 1982, Tron scored a $4.7 million Friday-Sunday debut, which, given a then-average ticket price of $2.94, works out to about 1.6 million ticket sold. Game over.

• Even if you add in Monday’s grosses, which are expected to bring Gamer up to $11.2 million, Tron still outsold its video-game descendant.

• Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will make $1 million through today, Paramount Pictures estimated, and will join Hollywood’s exclusive $400 million or more club. Once Revenge of the Fallen’s membership is confirmed, there will be only nine members.

• District 9, the little sci-fi movie that could, broke $100 million, with a $9 million Friday-Monday.

• Of the weekend’s new movies, Mike Judge’s Extract was, as Exhibitor Relations’ Jeff Bock put it, “the best-reviewed film that did the worst.” It’s expected to gross $5.5 million Friday-Monday.

• On the upside of being down, Extract is now projected to finish ninth, not 10th.

• The long and the short of it: G-Force fell out of the Top 10 after six weekends and a $114.6 million run, through Sunday; Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock fell out of the Top 10 after one weekend, and a $6 million run, also through Sunday.

• The summer box office estimates held. This now-concluded beach season will go down as the highest-grossing—and one of the weirdest. While revenue was up (thanks, 3D!), attendance was down. While August was surprisingly hot, thanks to G.I. Joe and District 9, Bock said, June and July were surprisingly cool.

• Perhaps nothing symbolized the summer’s split personality more than Terminator Salvation. The movie grossed $371 million worldwide; its producers filed for bankruptcy.

Here’s a look at the holiday weekend’s top-grossing films based on Friday-Monday estimates as compiled by Exhitor Relations:

1. The Final Destination, $15.4 million
2. Inglourious Basterds, $15 million
3. All About Steve, $14 million
4. Gamer, $11.2 million
5. District 9, $8 million
6. Halloween 2, $7.01 million
7. Julie & Julia, $7 million
8. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, $6.7 million
9. Extract, $5.5 million
10. The Time Traveler’s Wife, $5.46 million

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Romance rocks wizard world in new Potter movie


Fans in costumes pose as they enter the movie theatre for the world’s first premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in Tokyo July 6, 2009.

Romance rocks wizard world in new Potter movie

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LONDON (Reuters) – Romantic comedy meets the wizarding world in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the sixth instalment in the hit movie franchise in which hormones, as well as hexes, are on the loose at Hogwarts school.

And with filming on the final two pictures due to wrap up in 2010, the young actors who spent much of their teen years on set and coping with the superstardom their success has brought are finally looking ahead to life after Potter.

“It was nice to be back and to know that this film is, to me, more of a romantic comedy than ever before and that we would have a chance to focus more on that side of things,” said Emma Watson, who plays the feisty bookworm Hermione in the films.

“Sometimes I have to bring myself back with Hermione, because she is so innocent and so naive and she really is very vulnerable in this film,” the 19-year-old actress told reporters on Monday at a press conference to publicise the movie.

“She really does get her heart broken by Ron and Lavender and that whole situation.”

Director David Yates, who also made the fifth movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, added: “Our cast are just getting that little bit older now and the hormones are starting to fly and for me it marks a real transition point between our cast as children and our cast as adults.”

In Half-Blood Prince, out in theatres on July 15, Hogwarts is increasingly vulnerable to attack from Lord Voldemort, wizard Potter’s nemesis.

Professor Slughorn, played by Jim Broadbent, joins the cast, and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore places more and more trust in his star pupil Potter, determined to prepare him for his inevitable showdown with Voldemort.

Meanwhile, love blossoms, with Harry drawn to Ginny and Ron attracting the attention of Lavender Brown as a heartbroken Hermione looks on jealously.

The first reviews of the movie have been positive.

Variety magazine described it as “dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries” while The Hollywood Reporter said “a jerky start of exposition and backstory gives way to vigorous storytelling.”


The films, the first five of which have earned an impressive $4.5 billion at the box office, are based on British author J.K. Rowling’s seven-book Harry Potter series, which has sold an estimated 400 million copies worldwide.

There will be eight films in all, with the final volume, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, divided into two.

“We’re working at the moment on Deathly Hallows, and I think we’re all aware that this great juggernaut is reaching the end of its journey in a way,” said Yates, who is also directing Deathly Hallows Parts One and Two.

“We finish shooting next spring and everybody comes to work … with that knowledge in the back of their mind.”

According to Hollywood studio Warner Bros., the seventh film is scheduled to hit cinemas in November, 2010 and the eighth in the summer of 2011.

“I’d like to continue acting, really, if I can,” said Rupert Grint, who plays Ron.

“It’s kind of all coming to an end now and I suppose you’ve got to start thinking about that kind of thing.”

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry and has starred on the Broadway stage, also plans to go on acting.

“Hopefully just keep acting is the plan. I just want to keep going for as long as I can and I’ve had a fantastic time with Potter. I will be very sad to leave it.”

Watson is going to university in the United States.

“I’m very excited and looking forward to a bit of normality for a while, it would be nice,” she said. “But that by no means means that by going to university I’m never going to act again.”

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A Lohan comeback or just more ‘Pains’?


A Lohan comeback or just more ‘Pains’?

Could Lindsay Lohan be just one comedy shy of a comeback?

There was a time not too long ago the 23-year-old was raking in box office and positive praise for her performances in movies such as “Freaky Friday” and the Tina Fey-penned “Mean Girls.”

But in recent years, as Lohan’s often out-of-control personal life has been tabloid fodder, her acting career has gone by the wayside. A guest run on “Ugly Betty” was cut short, and recent films have turned out to be little-seen duds, including the romantic comedy “Just My Luck” opposite a then-unknown Chris Pine, the ho-hum family drama “Georgia Rule,” and the thriller “I Know Who Killed Me,” which cleaned up at the Razzie Awards and made just $7.4 million at the domestic box office.

Lohan’s latest, “Labor Pains,” about a woman who fakes a pregnancy to avoid being fired, was supposed to put her comedic gifts back in the spotlight. Whether that will happen is now up to a television audience — the movie won’t be playing in theaters. Lohan is not doing press for the film and declined a request for an interview through her representatives.

“Labor Pains” will premiere Sunday on ABC Family, a network owned by Disney, which launched some of Lohan’s biggest hits: “The Parent Trap,” “Freaky Friday” and later “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” First Look will release “Labor Pains” on DVD Aug. 4.

“Lindsay’s been a great draw for us, so we felt there was a good opportunity,” said Tom Zappala, ABC Family senior vice president of program acquisitions. In spite of her flagging reputation, Zappala bought premiere rights to the film based on the Lohan romantic comedy premise alone, script unseen. The network continues to draw above-average ratings from airings of her other films, such as “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” and “Mean Girls.”

The script for “Labor Pains” was originally developed as a wide-release film by Warner Bros., but when that option lapsed, director and co-writer Lara Shapiro found other funding at smaller production companies.

Producer Rick Schwartz, whose other credits include “The Aviator” and “The Departed,” said a theatrical run would have been ideal, but that the low-budget film was not intended as a wide release. Its production costs “were in line with what a place like ABC Family would spend on their original TV movies,” he said — ballpark: $1 million to $2 million — adding that the film will ultimately be profitable.

Lohan came on board well after Warner Bros. dropped out. Shapiro said the actress, who reportedly made $7.5 million in 2006 for “Just My Luck,” wasn’t fazed by the idea of “low budget” and seemed genuinely interested in getting her career back on track. “We only talked about the story and character,” she said. Cheryl Hines, Chris Parnell and Janeane Garofalo signed on later.

In February, Lohan complained to Interview magazine that she wasn’t getting the same opportunities as peers like Scarlett Johansson “because people are so distracted by the mess I created in my life.”

For Shapiro, a first-time feature director, concerns about working with the paparazzi magnet took a back seat. “I took the gamble. I really wasn’t that worried. There aren’t that many girls in her age group who can do comedy well. I thought it was worth it . . . I was betting on the ‘Freaky Friday’ Lindsay Lohan.”

“Labor Pains” was shot last summer, and while the shoot was constantly flanked by photographers, Shapiro said her star remained professional. In fact, Lohan never even discussed the uninvited crowd. “I wasn’t used to it, but she was, and she’s real good at ignoring it,” Shapiro said. “If they weren’t there, she probably could focus better, but I never saw it get in her way.”

ABC Family has gotten considerable press for the project, and early reviews for the film have been mostly positive (though not in this paper), some singling out Lohan as a high point.

Schwartz e-mailed Lohan some of those reviews earlier this week. Lohan, it seems, surprised even herself. He said that she texted him back: “Wow! These are good.”

“Good or bad, she wanted the headlines to be about something other than her personal life,” Schwartz said. “It’s a vehicle that takes her back to her roots. I like to think it’s a stepping stone for her.”

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