Producer Scott Rudin and Weinstein Co. honcho Harvey Weinstein today issued a statement that they’re “in complete agreement” about releasing The Reader, the Stephen Daldry war-crimes drama, about on December 12, a decision facilitated by “a plan to extend the post-production schedule in order to give Daldry the additional time he needs to successfully complete [it].”
The statement was prompted by a 9.23 Hollywood Reporter story by Stephen Zeitchik claiming that “a heated disagreement” between Weinstein and Rudin about distribution plans” for The Reader was underway.
The people who made Eagle Eye the weekend’s #1 film with a $29.2 million haul are obviously easy lays. The ads and reviews made it crystal clear this was/is a brainless, pumped-up slapdash thriller, and they went anyway.
The $13 million-plus that Nights at Rodanthe earned for the #2 position came from the wallets of women with low (certainly flexible) standards who don’t want to know from reviews and just wanted to hang with Richard Gere and Diane Lane…end of diagnosis.
The $6.5 million earned by Fireproof in 839 locations, or $7,764 per theatre, makes for a nice fourth-place showing by Sherwood Pictures, the Georgia-based Christian outfit (although it’s more likely than not that most of the people who paid to see it this weekend are McCain supporters).
And the box-office death of Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna — $3.5 million at 1,150 locations — was written on the wall a long while ago. Sentimental-cornball, bad reviews, limited interest in black World War II soldiers in Tuscany subject, the shooting incident in the trailer, 166 minutes….forget it.
“I guess it comes down to the fact that I take the escapism that movies provide very seriously, and that TV ‘entertainment news’ shows don’t. I’m not alone on this. There are millions of us who don’t necessarily think of movies as mere diversion. They can be opportunities for communion or transportation — a profound high.
“When a special movie comes along, a theatre can feel like a church. Maybe most people see movies in less reverent terms; maybe the true believers are a minority. But if the lore of movies was just about glamour, fun and ‘entertainment’, they wouldn’t be nearly as popular or connect with people in such primal, elemental ways.” — from a June 1999 Mr. Showbiz piece called “Stepford Showbiz News.” Here’s page 1 and page 2.
“What we learned last week is that the man who always puts his ‘country first’ will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House,” says N.Y. Times columnist Frank Rich in today’s edition.
“For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.”
It wouldn’t have worked with undecided voters, but frustrated Barack Obama supporters like myself would have felt immensely satisfied if he’d shown a little steel last night and told John McCain to wipe that smirk off his face because… you know, there was nothing the least bit funny or amusing about what they were discussing.
I’m thinking, of course, of that delicious moment in Michael Mann‘s The Insider when Bruce McGill tells Wings Hauser to do just that in that Mississippi courtroom.
The best thing about Last Chance Harvey (Overture, 12.26), a mature romantic drama with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, is the title, which seems to say it all in three words. But read the synopsis on this Movie Jungle page and tell me what it tells you. I think it sounds a little forced, a little twee. Like someone’s trying to sell something.
In any case, The Envelope‘s Pete Hammond reported last night that it’s coming out on 12.26 rather than 1.23 because Hoffman “is said to be terrific in the role of a rumpled man who finds love when he travels to London for his daughter’s wedding.”
Will this split Overture’s time and expenditures as far their push for Best Actor contender Richard Jenkins, star of last spring’s surprise art house hit, The Visitor?
There isn’t a lot of Paul Newman in these clips from George Roy Hill‘s Slap Shot — just two locker-room pep talks — but he and the Hanson brothers (i.e., the Carlson brothers) were beautiful in this thing. In the second clip, the riled-up referee’s reaction during the playing of the national anthem is perfect — two turn-arounds and a confrontation. “I’m listening’ to the fuckin’ song!” That settles it — I’m buying the DVD later today.
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