January 28, 2008

January 28, 2008

Women at the Box Office
Films targeted at women held their own this weekend while Cloverfield dropped a whopping 68% in its second weekend (whoops). 27 Dresses in its second weekend dropped only 40% making $13.6 million for a cume of $45.3 million, and Mad Money also dropped 40% making $4.6 million for a total cume of $15.3 million. Both films are successes since the costs were low and 27 Dresses has now made Katherine Heigl a movie star. It's all about perspective. If you make a movie for $30 and it grosses $45 you will wind up making money even though it does not have the monster opening weekend gross of $100. Everything in Hollywood is about the sprint on opening weekend. I don't know about you but I can't run that fast.

Juno continues to astound now having crossed over the holy grail- $100 million. Who would have thunk that a movie about a sarcastic, pregnant girl would gross this amount. I can guarantee that not a single person in Hollywood thought that. So, are there more sarcastic, smart girl (let's leave the pregnancy out this time) scripts in the pipeline?

Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days did monster numbers of $48,176 on just two screens (it expands into the top 15 markets over the next two weeks), and How She Move made a modest $4.2 million. Untraceable starring Diane Lane also opened to $11.2 million with an audience skewing 51% female and evenly divided between under 25s and over 25s.

SAG Awards
The first big awards show of this strike addled season aired last night.
Winners include:
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Julie Christie, "Away From Her"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Queen Latifah, "Life Support"

You gotta love Julie Christie who doesn't give a shit about the Hollywood crap. Here's some brilliance from her.

Julie Christie,who won for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role, proved herself a tough-minded and independent backstage. Wearing a pantsuit, the actress was asked at one point, “Whose pants are you wearing?” Christie said, “My own pants.” When pressed to name the label, she responded with, “I don’t buy into the whole walking-advertisement thing.”

She talked tough about the lack of female directors, saying she hoped that Sarah Polley’s success with “Away From Her” would open more doors. “We hope that more women will find their way into the business. Or be allowed into the business,” she said. She also placed herself firmly in the pro-union camp. “All unions are important, I think. Think of the fight to form unions. An incredible historical fight. … Without them, we wouldn’t have anyone to represent our injustices.” (Hollywood Reporter)

Women Take Big Awards at Sundance
Writer/Director Courtney Hunt's The Frozen took the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. The film is a look at how two desperate women who smuggle illegal immigrants sold last week to Sony Pictures Classics for under $1 million. That is $9 million less than Hamlet 2 by Steve Coogan.

On the documentary front, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's look at the Katrina aftermath Trouble the Water won the Grand Jury Prize. Other awards: Irena Dol won for editing The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins. (I interviewed the director Pietra Brettkelly and she said that Dol worked for no money for months as they were trying to raise funds for the film.) Lisa F. Jackson (whom I also interviewed) won a special jury prize for her film about the systematic rape of women and girls in the Congo, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo. Anna Melikyan won the world cinema directing award for Mermaid out of Russia, and Nanette Burstein won the documentary directing award for American Teen.

Here are my interviews:
Interview with Pietra Brettkelly
Interview with Lisa F. Jackson

DGA Awards
While women have jobs on the teams of the men who won the best directing honors over the weekend, all the honors went to the guys. The two women who won awards, Liz Ryan and Barbara Roche won lifetime achievement awards. Liz Ryan won a career achievement award for her work as an Assistant Director/Unit Production Manager and Roche won for Associate Director and Stage Management. Congrats to those women, but this guild should be ashamed of themselves for the lack of opportunities given to women.

Great Interview in the Guardian with Allison Janney who is one of my favorites. Can someone please write her a TV show? I've missed her since the West Wing went off the air. She's starring in the stage version of 9 to 5 in the Lily Tomlin role. Can't wait.

Choice quotes
For the first time in her life, Janney is single. "I was in an eight-year relationship, a 10-year relationship and then a four-year relationship that ended last year." This was with the actor, Richard Jenik. "And now I'm single and don't see how I'm ever going to be able to date anybody, because..." she tapers off, in despair. "Because it's Hollywood and I'm a woman over 40 and it seems impossible. I think I'm done. That's the way I feel. I'm kind of depressed about that. A little bit."

She's thinking, this year, of starting her own production company. "Katharine Hepburn did that. That's how she got parts."
How About That (The Guardian)

La Vie en Rose- got 11 Cesar (France's version of the Academy Awards) nominations including best picture and best actress. Awards will be given out in Paris on February 22nd.

Marjane Satrapi in the Boston Globe: On topic of fanatics, she gets animated