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19 items from 2005


Julia Roberts Still Hollywood's Top Woman

1 December 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Julia Roberts is still Tinseltown's leading Pretty Woman, according to trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter's annual 10 Most Powerful Women list. The actress has sheltered from the limelight following the birth of her twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, but remains the only actress who can command a $20 million salary. The poll marks Roberts' fourth year in first place, but she has Nicole Kidman snapping at her heels and Reese Witherspoon in third place. With Halle Berry slipping off the list, Jennifer Aniston comes in at number 10. The list, based on movie earnings, awards and visibility, is: 1. Julia Roberts, 2. Nicole Kidman, 3. Reese Witherspoon, 4. Drew Barrymore, 5. Renee Zellweger, 6. Angelina Jolie, 7. Cameron Diaz, 8. Jodie Foster, 9. Charlize Theron, 10. Jennifer Aniston. »

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Plummer Snubs 'Sound of Mucus' Reunion

21 November 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Veteran actor Christopher Plummer stands accused of snubbing The Sound Of Music's 40th anniversary reunion because he is embarrassed of the hit musical. Cast members united for a party in New York to celebrate the release of a commemorative DVD, for which Plummer provides much of the commentary, but his absence left many speculating he'd rather forget the film. Rodgers & Hammerstein Society president Ted Chapin tells website PageSix.com, "He used to refer to it as the 'Sound of Mucus'. It wasn't one of his favorite things." Plummer blamed his non-appearance on work commitments. He has been shooting Spike Lee's Inside Man, alongside Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. »

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'Flightplan' thrills to top as market awaits 'Harry'

14 November 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The anticipated year-end boxoffice bonanza at the overseas market gets under way this coming weekend as Warner Bros. unleashes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth in the series of film adaptations of J.K. Rowling's wildly successful family-favored books. As Goblet introduced itself at red-carpet invitational premieres at Paris' left-bank UGC Bercy multiplex on Nov. 8 -- "without hints of the riots" in France -- and London's Odeon Leicester Square on Nov. 11, a batch of current entries are showing surprising strength amid indications that the second half of this year may well help make up for disappointing international results in the first half of 2005. A good example may be the second-half vigor being displayed by Buena Vista International, the Walt Disney Co.'s offshore distribution arm, prior to its December release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. BVI's Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan jumped to the forefront over the weekend with a $15.2 million take from 3,484 screens in 39 countries, coming in No. 1 in 10 territories and reaching a foreign cume of $60 million. At the same time, BVI's Chicken Little also topped the b.o. charts in 10 markets as it earned $6.4 million over the weekend. »

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Family pics lift o'seas b.o. at midterm school holidays

24 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

A usually slow period at the overseas boxoffice perked up over the weekend as school holidays kicked off in several European markets, bringing about key new family film openings and expanded dates for a number of crowd-pleasers. The trend will likely carry over to this coming weekend when Sony's The Legend of Zorro takes off with a day-and-date blast with North America at more than 5,700 screens in 50 international markets. The weekend charge was led again by the Aardman Animations-DreamWorks Animation's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, followed by Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Jodie Foster starrer Flightplan, the U.K. bow of Working Title-Universal's family comedy Nanny McPhee, and the long-running Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. »

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Family pics lift o'seas b.o. at midterm school holidays

24 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

A usually slow period at the overseas boxoffice perked up over the weekend as school holidays kicked off in several European markets, bringing about key new family film openings and expanded dates for a number of crowd-pleasers. The trend will likely carry over to this coming weekend when Sony's The Legend of Zorro takes off with a day-and-date blast with North America at more than 5,700 screens in 50 international markets. The weekend charge was led again by the Aardman Animations-DreamWorks Animation's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, followed by Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Jodie Foster starrer Flightplan, the U.K. bow of Working Title-Universal's family comedy Nanny McPhee, and the long-running Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. »

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Foster Worries Her Children Will Follow Her Into Acting

14 October 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Former child star Jodie Foster has warned her kids Charles and Kit they will have to work hard if they want to follow her lead and launch an acting career. The Oscar-winning actress, who played a child prostitute when she was 13 in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, is worried her two sons, aged six and four, harbor acting ambitions. Foster insists she would only consider helping her boys if they proved their commitment. She says, "Well, it (acting) is not something I'd bring up. But if they begged me a lot and if they were really interested, I think I'd say, 'I've heard there's a great theatre group down the block, maybe if you got interested in that.' I wouldn't stand in their way, but it would depend on their personality. I don't think it's the healthiest relationship to have with your child, to be involved in their professional life. It worked out well for me, but I've seen it not work out many times." »

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Flightplan

7 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

"Flightplan" is a modern-day variant on Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 classic "The Lady Vanishes", only the lady in question is a 6-year-old girl and she doesn't disappear on a train but rather 37,000 feet above the Atlantic on a Berlin-to-New York flight. Where Hitchcock sought mystery and comedy, this film from young German director Robert Schwentke ("Tattoo") places its emphasis on paranoia and anger. One can easily dismiss the film as a tricked-up thriller, which surveys the geography of a jumbo jet and the calculus of human emotions in tight quarters to entertain audiences for a taut 95 minutes. But there is something really nasty about this cold, calculating exercise in mob psychology and human venality.

Two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster might draw audiences on opening weekend, and who knows what the spectacular drama this week at LAX may do for an in-flight melodrama. But audiences might react adversely to such transparent manipulation for so weak a payoff. The Walt Disney Co. will be hard-pressed to equal the success of the year's other in-flight thriller, "Red Eye", which has grossed more than $55 million.

Foster is working here in the woman-on-the-edge/protective-mother mode that helped drive David Fincher's "Panic Room" to boxoffice success. She goes for a gaunt look and a ruthless obsession that a casual observer might well interpret as paranoia. Flight attendants and most passengers are openly contemptuous of her efforts, angry that she is disturbing an otherwise peaceful flight and absolutely certain they never saw a child in her company board the plane. Not one single person?

The movie starts oddly, as if in a bad dream. A woman, Kyle Pratt (Foster), shuffles zombielike through empty, snowy streets of nighttime Berlin. She is accompanied by a man we later learn is an apparition of her late husband, who days before fell or jumped from the top of their apartment building. Writers Pete A. Dowling and Billy Ray and the director are clearly trying to raise doubts about the widow's sanity. Yet the effort is off-putting as it situates a thriller in an unreal or even surreal world, where a viewer can trust nothing onscreen.

The rest of the movie takes place aboard a jumbo jet, where its personnel are unduly hostile toward passengers, a few Arabs are thrown in to raise the flag of terrorism and two seemingly reasonable men, air marshal Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) and Captain Rich (Sean Bean), struggle to satisfy the distraught mother.

None of the movie's tricks or twists will be revealed here. But audiences are asked to swallow the following assumptions: that no one on a packed flight saw Kyle's daughter, Julie (Marlene Lawston), not even the children seated directly in front of her; that no one noticed anyone escort a probably unwilling child up the aisle while her mother slept; that an entire airline company, post-Sept. 11, is still susceptible to rudimentary sabotage; that Kyle just happens to be an aircraft engineer who knows the plane's configurations better than the crew does; and, finally, that our bad guy(s) can anticipate each and every far-fetched coincidence.

Cinematographer Florian Ballhaus' camera maneuvers within the airplane set to maximize emotions. The camera moves in tight when Schwentke wants to disorient or distract us. Then it backs away to survey the cabin mood. It zeroes in on one flight attendant (Erika Christensen) to make us suspicious. It warmly treats the space surrounding the friendly and helpful air marshal. Extreme close-ups on Foster and a therapist (Greta Scacchi in a cameo), conveniently onboard, make us doubt the existence of a daughter.

Throughout, Foster plays the intensity with an operatic passion. Conversely, Sarsgaard is flexible and likable, while Bean is professionally stiff. Kate Beahan plays a sourpuss flight attendant who regards the situation with a disapproving and drawn face. Assaf Cohen is the designated Arab, whom passengers pick on for his ethnicity.

Press notes trumpet the fact that the fictional aircraft was largely designed by producer Brian Grazer and the director. Perhaps this is a new creative field for the two as the interior has a snappy retro design, cheerful bars, large galleys and posh, inviting lounges.

FLIGHTPLAN

Buena Vista Pictures

Touchstone Pictures and Imagine Entertainment presenta Brian Grazer production

Credits:

Director: Robert Schwentke

Screenwriters: Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray

Producer: Brian Grazer

Executive producers: James Whitaker, Charles J.D. Schlissel, Robert DiNozzi, Erica Huggins

Director of photograp: Florian Ballhaus

Production designer: Alexander Hammond

Music: James Horner

Costumes: Susan Lyall

Editor: Thom Noble

Cast:

Kyle Pratt: Jodie Foster

Carson: Peter Sarsgaard

Julie: Marlene Lawston

Captain Rich: Sean Bean

Stephanie: Kate Beahan

Obiad: Michael Irby

Ahmed: Assaf Cohen

Fiona: Erika Christensen

Mr. Loud: Shane Edelman

Mrs. Loud: Mary Gallagher

Therapist: Greta Scacchi

MPAA rating PG-13 »

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'Flightplan' logs top spot, grounds four newcomers

4 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Four new wide releases entered the marketplace this past weekend, but for the most part they barely raised a blip on the radar of moviegoers. As a result, Buena Vista's Flightplan was in the top spot for the second consecutive weekend, taking in $14.8 million, down a moderate 40% from its debut a week earlier. The action-thriller from Imagine Entertainment, starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Schwentke, has landed with $45.9 million after 10 days. The combined boxoffice totals for this weekend's four new wide releases couldn't match the debut of just the top film during the comparable frame in 2004, when DreamWorks' Shark Tale hooked $47.6 million. Consequently, this was the first down weekend after four straight up sessions, as compared with 2004. The total boxoffice for the 131 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter was $88.6 million, off nearly 22% from the comparable weekend last year. »

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'Flightplan' stays aloft with $14.8 mil

4 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Despite the entry of four new wide release films this weekend, Buena Vista's Flightplan landed in first place for the second consecutive session. The Jodie Foster starrer absconded with $14.8 million, down 40% from it opening. The Imagine Entertainment production has collected an estimated $46.1 million in its first 10 days and encountered precious little turbulence from the newer films. Universal's Serenity was the highest grossing picture of the new arrivals, taking in $10.1 million to place second. The sci-fi actioner, helmed by Joss Whedon and based on his television series Firefly, carried a PG-13 rating and has a strong niche fan base. The opening was somewhat on the low side of expectations heading into the weekend, but the vast majority of reviews for Serenity were favorable and exit scores were positive. Warner Bros. Pictures' Tim Burton's Corpse Bride moved into the third slot, raising $10 million while slipping a steep 48% from its wide release debut. The stop-motion animated film, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, has generated $33.2 million to date. »

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'Flightplan' stays aloft with $14.8 mil

3 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Despite the entry of four new wide release films this weekend, Buena Vista's Flightplan landed in first place for the second consecutive session. The Jodie Foster starrer absconded with $14.8 million, down 40% from it opening. The Imagine Entertainment production has collected an estimated $46.1 million in its first 10 days and encountered precious little turbulence from the newer films. Universal's Serenity was the highest grossing picture of the new arrivals, taking in $10.1 million to place second. The sci-fi actioner, helmed by Joss Whedon and based on his television series Firefly, carried a PG-13 rating and has a strong niche fan base. The opening was somewhat on the low side of expectations heading into the weekend, but the vast majority of reviews for Serenity were favorable and exit scores were positive. Warner Bros. Pictures' Tim Burton's Corpse Bride moved into the third slot, raising $10 million while slipping a steep 48% from its wide release debut. The stop-motion animated film, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, has generated $33.2 million to date. »

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'Flightplan' stays aloft with $14.8 mil

3 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Despite the entry of four new wide release films this weekend, Buena Vista's Flightplan landed in first place for the second consecutive session. The Jodie Foster starrer absconded with $14.8 million, down 40% from it opening. The Imagine Entertainment production has collected an estimated $46.1 million in its first 10 days and encountered precious little turbulence from the newer films. Universal's Serenity was the highest grossing picture of the new arrivals, taking in $10.1 million to place second. The sci-fi actioner, helmed by Joss Whedon and based on his television series Firefly, carried a PG-13 rating and has a strong niche fan base. The opening was somewhat on the low side of expectations heading into the weekend, but the vast majority of reviews for Serenity were favorable and exit scores were positive. »

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'Flightplan' stays aloft with $15 mil

2 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Despite the entry of four new wide release films this weekend, Buena Vista's Flightplan landed in first place for the second consecutive session. The Jodie Foster starrer absconded with an estimated $15 million, down 39% from it opening. The Imagine Entertainment production has collected an estimated $46.1 million in its first 10 days and encountered precious little turbulence from the newer films. Universal's Serenity was the highest grossing picture of the new arrivals, taking in an estimated $10.1 million to place second. The sci-fi actioner, helmed by Joss Whedon and based on his television series Firefly, carried a PG-13 rating and has a strong niche fan base. The opening was somewhat on the low side of expectations heading into the weekend, but the vast majority of reviews for Serenity were favorable and exit scores were positive. »

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'Flightplan' stays aloft with $15 mil

2 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Despite the entry of four new wide release films this weekend, Buena Vista's Flightplan landed in first place for the second consecutive session. The Jodie Foster starrer absconded with an estimated $15 million, down 39% from it opening. The Imagine Entertainment production has collected an estimated $46.1 million in its first 10 days and encountered precious little turbulence from the newer films. Universal's Serenity was the highest grossing picture of the new arrivals, taking in an estimated $10.1 million to place second. The sci-fi actioner, helmed by Joss Whedon and based on his television series Firefly, carried a PG-13 rating and has a strong niche fan base. The opening was somewhat on the low side of expectations heading into the weekend, but the vast majority of reviews for Serenity were favorable and exit scores were positive. »

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Flight Unions Blast Foster's 'Flightplan'

29 September 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actress Jodie Foster is facing a backlash from flight attendants after appearing in a film depicting them as unhelpful and uncaring. The double Oscar-winner stars in new thriller Flightplan as a mother whose efforts to locate her lost child on a plane are hindered by air stewards. But the movie has sparked concerns the role of airplane staff may be undermined, and union officials are calling for its members to boycott it. Patricia Friend, international president of the Association Of Flight Attendants (AFA), says, "This disrespect to our profession is not going to fly. Flight attendants continue to be the first line of defense on an aircraft and put their lives on the line day after day for the safety of passengers." In the film, Foster's character only receives help from the captain played by Sean Bean and a US federal air marshal, played by Peter Sarsgaard. »

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Frame gets 40% boost over same period in '04

27 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

It was a double-play at the boxoffice this past weekend as the debuts of Buena Vista's Flightplan and Warner Bros. Pictures' Tim Burton's Corpse Bride were enough to jettison North American totals to impressive heights, as compared with 2004. The total boxoffice for the 123 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter was $100 million -- a sizable 40% higher than last year's comparable frame and marking the fourth consecutive up session. Flightplan, a dramatic thriller starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Schwentke, landed in the top spot with $24.6 million. Heading into the weekend, the Imagine Entertainment production was a slight underdog to the stop-motion animated Corpse Bride, which finished second with $19.1 million, and $19.7 million since its debut in limited release a week earlier. The combined grosses of the top two pictures comprised 44% of the total for all films. The opening for the PG-13-rated Flightplan proved the second highest for Foster, while the debut for Corpse Bride was the biggest animated opening in September, as well as a September company best for Warner Bros. »

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Foster Fights Cinema Battle

26 September 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jodie Foster almost lost her famous cool in a cinema recently when she stood up to a woman who was upset about her young son's questions. The actress took her kids to see nature documentary The March Of The Penguins and ended up confronting the bitter woman in front of her, who turned on her kid for quietly asking questions in the dark. Foster recalls, "This woman went berserk. She started with the shushing from the get go... and then she starts yelling at me. Finally, I just turn into the most perfect police officer where I was whispering, 'You know, you're really disturbing everybody, and I think it would be a good idea if you moved if you're not happy.' It almost came to blows. I'm pretty sure I did say something offensive at some point, something like, 'You're awfully young to be that bitter.' She really lost her mind. But I was insulted. I understand. I go to a movie, I don't want to be disturbed. But don't go to a noon Sunday matinee of a family movie. I mean, what do you expect?" »

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Von Trier's Zentropa tapped for Hamburg prize

7 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

COLOGNE, Germany -- The Hamburg International Film Festival announced Wednesday it will honor Danish production house Zentropa -- Lars von Trier's shingle -- with this year's Douglas Sirk Award, the festival's top prize, named in honor of the legendary Hamburg-born director. Previous winners of the award include Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Francois Ozon and Wong Kar Wai. Founded in 1992 by von Trier and production partner Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Zentropa almost single handedly created the Dogma movement with films such as Mifune's Last Song, Italian For Beginners and von Trier's The Idiots. »

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Foster claims throne of Uni's 'Sugar Kings'

26 July 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Jodie Foster is getting back into the director's chair for Sugar Kings, a drama for Universal Pictures being produced by studio-based Tribeca Films. The feature also is being developed as a possible starring vehicle for Foster. Kings, by screenwriters Ned Zeman and Daniel Barnz, is based on the Vanity Fair article In the Kingdom of Big Sugar by Marie Brenner. The story centers on a female lawyer, fresh out of law school, who teams with a veteran public-interest attorney to take on a powerful sugar baron on behalf of exploited migrant workers. Tribeca's Jane Rosenthal is producing. »

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Foster claims 'Sugar Kings' throne

26 July 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Jodie Foster is getting back into the director's chair for Sugar Kings, a drama for Universal Pictures being produced by studio-based Tribeca Films. The feature also is being developed as a possible starring vehicle for Foster. Kings, by screenwriters Ned Zeman and Daniel Barnz, is based on the Vanity Fair article In the Kingdom of Big Sugar by Marie Brenner. The story centers on a female lawyer, fresh out of law school, who teams with a veteran public-interest attorney to take on a powerful sugar baron on behalf of exploited migrant workers. Tribeca's Jane Rosenthal is producing. »

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19 items from 2005


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