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May 25, 2012 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
The Men in Black are invading theaters this weekend with a mission that others have failed to achieve: knock "The Avengers" off the No. 1 box-office perch. Sony Pictures' big-budget 3-D sequel "Men in Black 3" is on track to gross about $250 million worldwide over the long Memorial Day weekend, most of which should come from overseas markets. In the U.S. and Canada, the film is expected to generate about $80 million over the four-day holiday period from Friday through Monday, said people who have seen pre-release tracking surveys.
January 13, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times
It's a tale as old as time. But will it be a hit in 2012? The 1991 animated classic "Beauty and the Beast" is getting a 3-D re-release this weekend, and Walt Disney Studios is hoping the film will appeal to a new generation of moviegoers. The picture will probably be in a tight race for the No. 1 box-office spot with the Mark Wahlberg action flick "Contraband. " Pre-release audience surveys indicate that each movie is expected to debut with $17 million to $20 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
January 9, 2004 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
The infectious heroine of the appealing but long-winded "Chasing Liberty" is an 18-year-old who has everything -- looks, personality, intelligence -- yet has a terrible time dating and leading a normal life. The reason: She's the daughter of the president of the United States. The rigors of passing through White House security and the daughter's instant recognizability in public tend to scare guys off.
April 20, 2007 | Lorenza Munoz, Times Staff Writer
Two film veterans have become the latest Hollywood players to tap into the gusher of money Wall Street is putting into the movie business by arranging a $1-billion credit line. Patrick Wachsberger, chief executive of foreign sales and distribution company Summit Entertainment, and Robert Friedman, former head of marketing and distribution for Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group, aim to use the money from Merrill Lynch & Co.
January 14, 2005 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
In the live-action talking animal genre, "Racing Stripes" is no "Babe" but should delight youngsters, although parents likely will find it is sentimental in the extreme, with a plot that telegraphs every development. Efficiently directed, however, by Frederik Du Chau from David F. Schmidt's script, the film is populated with endearing animals that are expertly anthropomorphized and that are voiced by, among others, a sprinkling of famous names, including Dustin Hoffman, no less.
May 21, 2012 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
The box-office debut of"Battleship" - an attempt to transform the kids' strategy pastime into a summer blockbuster - looked like a very different board game over the weekend: Trouble. Universal Pictures' $209-million alien invasion spectacle fizzled badly in its domestic premiere, grossing just $25.3 million and finishing a distant second to the third weekend of Disney's "The Avengers," according to Sunday estimates. The debut of "Battleship" - whose ticket sales were about 40% lower than some predictions - was even worse than the $30.2-million March opening of"John Carter,"one of the biggest fiascoes in Hollywood history, and the film's audience was surprisingly old. "I'm hugely disappointed in this opening," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of domestic distribution, who added that the film's respectable international numbers will soften the domestic blow.
December 13, 2011 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
As founder, chairman and chief executive of National Research Group Inc. from 1978 to 2003, movie market researcher Joseph Farrell introduced the concept of market testing to Hollywood, originating now-standard industry practices such as audience tracking surveys, focus-group preview screenings and demographic analysis of moviegoers. Over the decades, NRG's confidential research reports were used by all of the major Hollywood studios to make decisions about release dates, tweak marketing campaigns and — sometimes to the unease of filmmakers — tinker with movies.
April 11, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Shortly before he began shooting his new artificial-intelligence thriller "Transcendence" last year, filmmaker Wally Pfister flew Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz, a pair of UC Berkeley scientists, to his office in Los Angeles. Professional consultants are common on Hollywood movies, but they're not usually this advanced - Carmena studies neuroscience and Maharbiz is a nanotechnology specialist - and even fewer go deep into the weeds with directors. For ‎10 hours, the men pored over the script with the intensity of lab researchers on the verge of a major discovery.
August 11, 2011
Alan Ball has one of the most popular shows on cable with HBO's "True Blood. " Now he could be a double threat via HBO's sister network. The creator will executive produce a new series called "Banshee," which will serve as a key plank in Cinemax's original programming push. The series will be set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish country (the titular Banshee), according to a person who was briefed on the project but asked not to be identified, and will feature an enigmatic ex-con who's also an expert in martial arts.
May 17, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman
It won't be smooth sailing for the costly newcomer"Battleship"at the box office this weekend, as "The Avengers" is set to dominate ticket sales for the third consecutive round.  The superhero adventure film is expected to be No. 1 yet again with about $50 million in ticket sales, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The movie already has surpassed the $1-billion mark at the global box office and will have grossed more than $400 million in the U.S. and Canada alone by Sunday.  "Battleship," the popcorn movie about a maval fleet battling aliens which cost Universal Pictures $209 million to produce, probably will start off with a so-so $40 million in ticket sales.
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