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‘The Shallows’: 6 Steps to Deliver the Perfect Summer Sleeper

18 hours ago

Fall is the season for Oscar movies; cheap summer thrillers are long forgotten. However, it’s a good time to honor the sleeper success that is “The Shallows.” Today is the film’s DVD release, the final platform for a little $17 million movie that stars Blake Lively, a shark, and a coral reef, and grossed $116 million worldwide.

There’s a sophisticated intelligence behind this movie, manipulating suspense with unexpected twists. This does not happen very often. So what did the producers and the studio do right?

1. Target women. 

In fall 2014, veteran production executive Lynn Harris (“Man of Steel,” “Gravity”) founded indie production company Weimaraner Republic Pictures with her fellow dog-loving husband, Matti Leshem. Their goal: produce high-concept movies on modest budgets, aimed at the under-served women’s audience. Leshem brought Anthony Jawinski’s script for “The Shallows” to Harris.

“It was a true thriller and had that surfing and escape thing, »

- Anne Thompson

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Mike Mills’ ’20th Century Women’ Gets a Christmas Day Release

26 September 2016 2:55 PM, PDT

Now that studios are finalizing their late-year bookings, we can see just how insane the Christmas release season will be.

Paramount slotted Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” on December 23—he was always expected to hand in the film, as he did with “Wolf of Wall Street,” just before year’s end—while A24 chose December 25 as a limited launch for Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women,” which will make its world premiere October 8 at the New York Film Festival. His last film, 2010’s “Beginners,” scored an Oscar win for Christopher Plummer.

Both movies will widen in the less-competitive January time frame, and are expected to compete for awards. “Silence” offers the second high-profile performance of the year from Andrew Garfield. (The other is Mel Gibson’s well-reviewed Venice title, World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge.”) “20th Century Women” is a ’70s family dramedy starring Oscar perennial Annette Bening (who is overdue with »

- Anne Thompson

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France Picks Paul Verhoeven’s Sexy Thriller ‘Elle’ For 2017 Best Foreign Language Oscar Submission

26 September 2016 9:02 AM, PDT

Sony Pictures Classics, Isabelle Huppert and Paul Verhoeven are very happy.

Bravo to France for taking a risk by picking their official foreign language Oscar submission, “Elle,” over shortlist contenders “The Innocents” by Anne Fontaine, “Frantz” by François Ozon and “Cézanne and I” by Danièle Thompson. Spc took a chance that the Cannes competition entry would make the cut when they acquired “Elle” out of Cannes.

Why the risk? Well, it’s one thing for the movie to play well with sophisticated audiences and critics in Europe, and another in North America, where the psychosexual thriller may run into a different set of reactions, especially from politically correct sensibilities such as Women in Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein. (Post Cannes and Toronto, “Elle” sits at a very high 87% on Metacritic.)

Read More: ‘Elle’ Exclusive Clip: Isabelle Huppert Takes Revenge On An Attacker In Paul Verhoeven’s Latest Thriller

Always enjoying stirring »

- Anne Thompson

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