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Recap - Week of 8/17/09
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194

“Inglourious Basterds” has given the Weinstein Co. a much-needed jolt, opening to a very strong studio-estimated $37.6 million.

That’s far and away the biggest opening for director Quentin Tarantino, as well as the highest first-weekend gross for a movie in the typically slow second half of August, exceeding the $33.1 million made by 2007’s “Superbad,” even accounting for ticket-price inflation.

In particularly good news for the movie’s backers, the decline in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday was 10%. That’s a relatively modest drop for an action movie whose director has a devoted fan base that turns out opening day and is a sign that word of mouth is solid despite some graphic violence and mixed reviews.

The movie also started off well overseas, where it was distributed by Universal, selling a studio-estimated $27.5 million worth of tickets in 22 territories.

Weinstein Co. and Universal split the movie’s production budget of about $70 million and will evenly divide the movie’s box-office revenue, typically about half of ticket sales. Both studios are very much in need of a hit — Universal after a summer with several box office busts and Weinstein Co. as it struggles to regain stable financial footing.

“District 9″ managed a decent hold despite “Basterds” taking much of the box-office oxygen among action fans. It declined 49% from its big opening to $18.9 million, according to distributor Sony Pictures. That brings total domestic ticket sales for the Peter Jackson-produced science fiction movie, which cost only $30 million to produce, to $73.5 million.

Warner Bros.’ romantic drama “The Time Traveler’s Wife” dropped 46% to $10 million on its second weekend, a less encouraging number since it opened to a so-so $18.6 million and there were no new directly competing movies at theaters.

Of the weekend’s other three new movies in wide release, only the Robert Rodriguez-directed family film “Shorts” avoided disaster, grossing $6.6 million. Warner Bros. distributed the film for financiers Media Rights Capital and Imagenation Abu Dhabi.

Fox’s “Post Grad,” a leftover film from defunct youth division Fox Atomic, earned a very weak $2.8 million.

Disney’s documentary “X-Games 3D” proved a total bust, earning only $800,000 despite playing exclusively in 3-D theaters, which carry ticket-price surcharges.


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the-tripOn this day in 1967, AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES released THE TRIP. This would be just another one of about a million ‘drug’ movies putout during the 60’s if not for it’s incredible pedigree. Directed by ROGER CORMAN from a script by JACK NICHOLSON, it starred PETER FONDA, SUSAN STRASBERG, BRUCE DERN, DENNIS HOPPER, LUANA ANDERS and DICK MILLER. A real product of its time, THE TRIP is…well…a trip.


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hammerstein-time

On this day in 1960, Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist for many of the most popular musicals of the 1930s and ’40s, dies. Born on July 12, 1895, Hammerstein helped set the direction of American musical theater in 1927 with Show Boat, written with composer Jerome Kern, which included the song “Old Man River.” Hammerstein’s best-known works were created with composer Richard Rodgers, including Oklahoma!(1943), South Pacific (1949), and The Sound of Music(1959).

(With thanks to History.com)


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teen-wolfOn this day in 1985, ATLANTIC RELEASING released TEEN WOLF. Directed by ROD DANIEL, this family comedy about a high schooler who discovers he’s a werewolf was the benefactor of MICHAEL J. FOX’s newfound stardom just as it went to theaters. Not a very good movie but a very popular one nevertheless.


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192After several years in development, Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic, “Inglourious Basterds,” finally finds its way into theaters this Friday.  The movie’s stars include Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, and Eli Roth.  Tarantino tells us that while the movie is not a remake of the 1978 Italian-made film, it did draw some of its inspiration from the movie.. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR TO HEAR TARANTINO)

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.


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190Catherine Zeta-Jones will be joining Angela Lansbury in the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”daughter of Lansbury’s character, Madame Armfeldt. The role of the aging stage actress does not require much dancing or singing except for the most famous song in the musical, “Send in the Clowns.”

She won an Oscar for singing and dancing in “Chicago” and now she’s taking her act to Broadway. Catherine Zeta-Jones will be joining Broadway dame Angela Lansbury in the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”

Zeta-Jones will play Desiree.

She had previously won an Oscar for “Best Support Actress” as Velma Kelly in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the musical “Chicago.”

Sondheim, the composer, personally called Zeta-Jones and persuaded her to star in the musical. Lansbury had wanted another big-name star to co-headline the show with her, not wanting to shoulder the multimillion dollar Broadway revival by herself. Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt will be largely confined to a wheelchair.

The production is expected to open at the Walter Kerr Theatre in mid-December. The story is based on Ingmar Bergman’s movie “Smiles of a Summer Night,” and follows the love lives of a group of upper-class Scandinavians one summer evening.

It first opened in 1973 and Sondheim describes it as “whipped cream with knives.”

VIA: THE CELEBRITY CAFE

 



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189Cobra Starship’s latest single, “Good Girls Go Bad,” has launched into the upper reaches of the pop stratosphere.  We talked to lead singer Gabe Saporta about the meaning behind the single, which features guest vocals from Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl.” (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR BELOW TO HEAR Gabe Saporta)

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 


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187Inglourious Basterds” is off to a strong start, selling a studio-estimated $14.3 million worth of tickets on its opening day in the U.S. and Canada.

If it matches the performance of previous Quentin Tarantino-directed films, or recent male-oriented action movies like “District 9,” that means the movie probably will earn $37 million or $38 million for the weekend.

Even if word of mouth is weak and Saturday ticket sales fall off significantly from Friday, it will almost certainly still exceed $30 million.

That’s good news for the two beleaguered studios behind the movie, Weinstein Co. and Universal Pictures, signaling that their $70-million investment in production of the World War II action movie is starting off on the right track.

Not too surprisingly, with “Inglourious” likely taking much of the male audience, last weekend’s No. 1 movie, “District 9,” declined a sizable 61% from its opening Friday to $5.5 million. Though its Saturday and Sunday drops probably won’t be as severe, the Sony-distributed science fiction picture probably will gross under $20 million for the weekend, indicating it won’t have a “Star Trek”-like run driven by phenomenal buzz.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” declined 57% to $3.3 million. That’s a bit more troubling for Warner Bros., because its $39-million romantic drama earned only a so-so $18.6 million on its debut weekend. Many other female-targeted movies, like “Julie & Julia” and “The Proposal,” have seen much smaller second weekend drops this summer.


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