January 7, 2008

January 7, 2008

Weekend Box Office
Juno continues to soar. Now playing in almost 2,000 theatres that film made over 16 million this weekend for a total of $52 million putting it on pace for the biggest specialty film (made for $2.5 million but released by the in-house specialty until at Fox, Fox Searchlight) at the box office released in 2007.

PS I Love You is still hanging around and has made almost $40 million in total and Atonment cracked the top 10 with $5.1 million or the week for a total of $19.2 million.

The Golden Compass keeps soaring overseas reaping $29 million this weekend for an international total of $232 million.

In Defense of Katherine Heigl
Hollywood has a tendency to excoriate its women for speaking up ala Jane Fonda, and Katherine Heigl is getting her share of crap for being honest about Knocked Up. We'll see who will be in the driver's seat on January 19 the day after her film 27 Dresses opens.

I haven't seen it yet (I am trying really hard to get into a screening this week) but this film has the female trifecta - a female star (Heigl), a female director (Anne Fletcher) and a female writer (Aline Brosh McKenna). I'm not too sold on the premise (it sounds a little regressive) -- it's about a woman who has been a bridesmaid 27 times and how she takes take of everyone else except herself.

From an LA Times story this weekend:

"Outspoken," people call her, although it could also just be said that she speaks. Jane Fonda in Vietnam was outspoken; Heigl in Hollywood, calling the character she played in "Knocked Up" a shrew, is merely being forthright.
"The press or the media has decided that I'm outspoken, and I guess that's my angle or something?" she asks. "I have been this way for the last five to seven years when I started saying, 'You know, screw it, I'm not going to pussyfoot around issues anymore.' I kind of say what I think. And if I feel passionately about something I will be honest about it, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that."
She clearly is backtracking on her comments about Knocked Up after getting a talking to by someone.
"I wouldn't have said anything at all, except that it was getting so much attention," she said. "It would have just gone away had I said nothing at all. Because it wasn't that interesting, and it wasn't that outrageous."
Katherine Heigl Outspoken (LA Times)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there are right wing blogs about Hollywood and equally shouldn't be surprised that Heigl is getting her ass kicked by them. I won't give them the satisfaction of linking to their comments or posts, but it makes me feel even stronger that we need to support Heigl. The comments I read were very inflammatory and anti-woman (ie keep the women in the house and in their places), so we, as people who believe women have the right to say whatever we please have to support women in Hollywood that stand up for themselves.

Katha Pollitt on Juno
There hasn't been a movie in years that has all the feminist columnists weighing in. What's very interesting is to look at the different comments from feminists of different generations. (I'll try and do that at a later date)
I couldn't get over my sense that, hard as the movie worked to be a story about particular individuals, not a sermon, it was basically saying that for a high school junior to go through pregnancy and childbirth to give a baby to an infertile couple is both noble and cool, of a piece with loving indie rock and scorning cheerleaders;
To its credit, the film doesn't demonize teen sex; still, a teen who saw this movie would definitely feel like a moral failure for choosing abortion. Do we really want young girls to feel like they have to play babysanta?
The Media Makes Pregnant Teens Have Babies (The Nation via Alternet)

NY Times Special Oscar insert- Lame on the Women Front.
The only article on a woman was on Keira Knightley.
Commanding Attention in and Out of Costume (NY Times)

Do Violent Movies Drive Down Violence on the Streets?
File this under stuuupid economic survey. The NY Times has a report today on a study that shows that watching violent movies actually decreases violence on the streets.
Instead of fueling up at bars and then roaming around looking for trouble, potential criminals pass the prime hours for mayhem eating popcorn and watching celluloid villains slay in their stead.
“You’re taking a lot of violent people off the streets and putting them inside movie theaters,” said the lead author of the study, Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego. “In the short run, if you take away violent movies, you’re going to increase violent crime.”
Young men are the most likely to commit violent crimes. In opting to see a movie — even one featuring, say, gang rape or chain-saw amputation — they forgo activities that have a greater tendency to encourage mayhem, like drinking and drug use.
So girls- for the two hours that guys are in the theatre watching women get maimed and killed onscreen you're safe! Give me a break.
Economists Says Movie Violence May Temper Real Thing (NY Times)

National Society of Film Critics

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” IFC
ACTRESS: Julie Christie, “Away From Her”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
SCREENPLAY:Tamara Jenkins, “The Savages”

Persepolis and another new film Caramel about women working in a beauty shop in Lebanon are both directed by women. Marjane Satrapi co-directed Persepolis and Nadine Labaki directs Caramel. They will both represent their countries France and Lebanon respectively in the foreign film oscar category. Persepolis is in limited release now and Caramel comes out later this month.
Femmes Find Mideast Funnybone (Variety)

An interesting look at lessons from 2007 and a look to 2008 for the specialty and doc market.
The Glut Resolutions Festivals and More (Indiewire)