November 18, 2013 |
It had already been a strong year for films with predominantly black casts - the kind of year that makes bloggers pull out their laptops and write posts about a “new moment.” "Fruitvale Station" was the sensation of the Sundance Film Festival. "The Butler" was a major commercial crossover. "12 Years A Slave” is the art-house breakout of the fall and an early Oscar favorite. A big holiday hit was hardly needed to make people realize that long-held tropes about movies with black casts - or, for that matter, aimed at black audiences - were bunk.
August 15, 2013 |
After the coffee. Before remembering to smile. Well, it's worth a shot! The Skinny: Are the Dodgers ever going to lose? Serves me right for turning the game off when the Mets were up 4-0 and watching "Scarface" on AMC. Thursday's headlines include a preview of Al Jazeera America, which launches next week, and a look at why "Lee Daniels' The Butler" has more producers than I have plates. Also, Daniel Loeb buys some Disney stock. Daily Dose: Fox Sports 1 will be available on Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network when it launches Saturday.
August 17, 2013 |
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" will be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend after taking in about $9 million in ticket sales last night. That puts the historical drama on track for a $27-million weekend, significantly more than The Weinstein Company's initial lowball estimate of $15 million. It also means "The Butler" will open to roughly the same weekend take as DreamWorks' 2011 civil rights drama "The Help," which also debuted in August and brought in $26 million on its way to a $169.7-million domestic gross.
May 8, 2013 |
Moviegoers well-acquainted with Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels' eyebrow-raising filmic oeuvre may be shocked to learn that his latest movie, “The Butler,” seems, at first blush, rather short on salacious surprises. This from the guy who had Nicole Kidman urinate on Zac Effron's face in last year's lurid drama “The Paperboy” and had Mo'Nique hurl a frying pan at Gabourey Sidibe's head (en route to claiming an Academy Award) in 2009's “Precious.” "The Butler" centers on Cecil Bates (Forrest Whitaker)
August 23, 2013 |
After the coffee. Before catching up with Affleck-as-Batman tweets. The Skinny: This weekend I'm headed to KCON, the K-pop convention here in Los Angeles, which should be quite an energetic scene. Today, I'll be bracing myself while listening to Neko Case's new album, streaming at NPR . Today's headlines include ESPN's exit from "Frontline's" documentary and our box office preview. Daily Dose: Discovery is calling for submissions. Discovery Channel U.S. and Discovery Networks International have launched a new $500,000 fund to invest in its next big programs from producers around the world.
August 24, 2013 |
Sony Pictures decided to abandon "Lee Daniels' The Butler," placing its 2013 summer bets on "White House Down" and "After Earth. " Think the studio wishes it now had made a different decision? "The Butler," whose financing was cobbled together by numerous investors and is distributed by the Weinstein Co., is continuing to dominate the box office and is certain to finish in first place in its second week of release, according to early numbers released Saturday. PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot moments The fact-based account of a black White House butler who served in eight presidential administrations is projected to gross as much as $16 million this weekend, easily surpassing the holdover "We're the Millers" and the new releases "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "The World's End" and "You're Next," none of which are performing strongly.
July 16, 2013 |
In David Boies, the Weinstein Co. has a powerful weapon at its disposal in its legal fight with Warner Bros. over the title of race-themed pic “The Butler.” But on Tuesday it was touting a less well-known name: a Michigan teen named Katy Butler. Butler, as hard-core followers of goings-on in Weinsteinland will recall, was the young woman who in the spring of 2012 sponsored the Change.org petition in favor of lowering the rating for “Bully” from an R, citing bullying she's faced herself.
December 6, 2013 |
Nelson Mandela was revered around the world, but the South African leader also enjoyed a particularly passionate following in Hollywood. The movie business' interest in Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, yielded a number of documentaries and, just this year, two feature films about Mandela and his wife: "Winnie Mandela," which opened Sept. 6, and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which debuted Nov. 29. Following Mandela's death, several filmmakers, executives and actors reflected on Mandela's life and work, and shared their memories about his influence and having met him. FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
July 3, 2013 |
Harvey Weinstein loves a good fight -- especially if it helps him promote one of his company's movies. So when the MPAA's title registration bureau decided this week that the Weinstein Co. couldn't use the title "The Butler" on Lee Daniels' upcoming biopic about the life of a longtime White House butler because it's also the title of a 1916 short film owned by Warner Bros., Weinstein immediately went into outrage mode. Today, he announced the hiring of prominent attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 recount fight and gay marriage advocates in the recent Supreme Court challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore when he ran afoul of the Treasury Department after visiting Cuba for the Weinstein Co. film "Sicko.
August 13, 2013 |
Oprah Winfrey has said that taking a role in "The Butler" -- her first big-screen turn in 15 years -- was a scary prospect. But after being engulfed by a media mob at her new movie's premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night, Winfrey might be thinking that acting is the least frightening part of her return to film. Following an emotional screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, moviegoers headed across the street to an after-party at WP24 -- Wolfgang Puck's trendy restaurant with a sweeping view of the downtown skyline.