2012 has been a great year for big Hollywood films. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, my top ten lists were stocked with underdogs and the kind of specialty fare that only sometimes made it big at the box office. This year, most of the "specialty" releases I selected are destined for expansion and great play in theatres, so I'm a little light on the underdogs. The list reflects only the movies I saw in theatres this year: 70, a number many critics could easily double. In no particular order, here are my top ten:1. Zero Dark Thirty. The biggest surprise for me was that the film's protagonist, Maya, was female, "a woman clothed, like Athena, in willful strength and intellectual armor," as described by The New Yorker's David Denby. She's the kind of female protagonist you don't realize is rare until you see her up on the screen. Beyond Maya (played expertly by Jessica Chastain), director Kathryn Bigelow lays out an incredibly detailed account of the years leading up to Bin Laden's death that feels … [Read more...] about Sarah Sluis’ Top Ten Movies of 2012
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Alternative content has been around for years, but with the magic of digital it is about to become a regular attraction in your neighborhood theatre. As one prominent exhibitor notes, “It’s all about utilization,” and that’s the beauty of this programming—it’s an opportunity to sell out your theatre during off-peak hours. Imagine that…the chance to make money during a weekday when a film in your theatre is entering its third week.There are still big questions that need to be answered about alternative content. Is it making money? What is the core audience? And how do you market the content?FJI assistant editor Sarah Sluis looks into all these questions concerning alternative content in a detailed report in this issue. She interviews some of the top executives in the industry and gives them the opportunity to speak out on this topic. Paul Glantz, CEO of Ohio circuit Emagine Entertainment, observes, “Alternative content is still in the … [Read more...] about Is alternative content working?
After nearly 11 months of daily reports and commentary for Screener, FJI's blogger extraordinaire Katey Rich has moved on. Starting next month, you'll find her full-time at the TV and movie website Cinema Blend. Katey launched Screener for us, and we'll miss her bright take on each day's movie news and her lively weekend box-office previews. We'll also miss her warm and friendly presence here on the 7th floor at 770 Broadway in NYC. Thanks, Katey, for a terrific job, and we wish you much success at your new home.Starting next week, Sarah Sluis will take over the Screener beat, so watch this space for more lively reports on the latest movie news. … [Read more...] about Good Luck, Katey!
First things first: As you may have noted from the previous few posts, Katey Rich has moved on, so most of the day-to-day blogging on Screener will come from me (Sarah Sluis). I had the honor of knowing Katey pre-blog, back in college, in which she once led a fabulous presentation on Billy Wilder's Sabrina, so I know I have some big shoes to fill. That being said, here is today's film news. MGM Looking for �Capital Enhancements' MGM has brought in bank Goldman Sachs to evaluate "capital enhancements," leading some to believe the studio was for sale. MGM countered the speculation by issuing a statement saying they were in fact looking for additional financing--$500 million worth. With a co-production deal with New Line and Warner Brothers for The Hobbit and its sequel in the pipeline, MGM will certainly need funds to finance this and other projects, and I cannot think of a better carrot to dangle in front of investors than the promise of a moneymaker like Lord of the … [Read more...] about Today’s Film News: MGM Seeks Cash
The National Association of Theatre Owners' new CinemaCon convention debuted on Monday atCaesars Palace in Las Vegas, a step up from the old ShoWest home base of the Bally's and Paris Hotels. Caesars is a more spacious and spread-out location, offering the decided advantage of a larger theatre that can accommodate the show's estimated 6,000 attendees rather than dividing them between the two smaller performance spaces at Bally's and Paris. Delegates were still getting a feel for the expanded headquarters on the first day, but they seemed comforted by the roominess of the immense Octavius Ballroom that was the site of the opening night party hosted by Christie, Deluxe and Imax Corp.The international market was the focus of opening-day programming, reviving an old ShoWest tradition. And no wonder: As Warner Bros. International Cinemas president Millard Ochs pointed out, foreign box office is now double that of the domestic market. He also predicted that China alone will surpass North … [Read more...] about Paramount promotes strong summer lineup at CinemaCon