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November 10, 2008

Supply and demand of 'Madagascar,' AFM


No better time to open a couple comedies than a few days after the end of a protracted and emotionally draining presidential race. So what happened to "Soul Men?"

"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" (alive with Oscar possibilities) and "Role Models" (not so much) provided the much-needed post-Prop 8 comic relief at the boxoffice, sailing past projections with $63.5 million and $19.3 million, respectively. "Soul Men," the late Emmy nominated comedian Bernie Mac's last film, only scratched out $5.6 million for sixth place.

We did a 180 ourselves, with back-to-back Serious Fare that included John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt," more-indie-than-indie "Wendy and Lucy," and WWII-era "Defiance." Details on those later, and needless to say, before or after we borrow a neighbor kid and hit a "Madagascar" matinee.


In another classic case of giving the people what they want, the upcoming Stallone action flick, with the once and forever Rambo in front of/behind the camera, emerged as a star this weekend of the otherwise lackluster American Film Market. 

Those international buyers, they sure love their movies big, loud and monosyllabic. ("The Expendables," with Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li as a team of mercenaries, to the rescue!)

As they were pitching their hearts out, the film executives assembled at the yearly sale-a-thon in Santa Monica had some sobering thoughts, a la the crashing global economy and the palpable lack of interest in anything that doesn't star Johnny To.

Nu Image chief Avi Lerner says there are too many movies, not enough investment money and escalating piracy. Consumers are calling the shots. His assessment:

"People don’t just buy a ticket to any movie any more; they choose what movie they go to. That is why the (Hollywood) studios are cutting the number of films they make and are making them bigger. In 2009 we will make less films and at lower prices."

There's your accu-prediction for the day. It's up to you to decide if that's good Monday morning news or not.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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