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Boxoffice and Oscar Talk: Apocalypto, Good Shepherd, Happy Feet, The Holiday, Blood Diamond

Holiday_story I have not rushed to see The Holiday, although I'm a Nancy Meyers fan. I thoroughly enjoyed Something's Gotta Give and What Women Want. There are precious few women making a living as feature film directors, and she's really successful at it. I'll catch The Holiday in a theater, assuming that Nora ever has a second between laboring over her college essays. (Here's screenwriter/script reader/blogger Billy Mernit's dissection of The Holiday.) I was thrilled that Nora went to see The Good Shepherd with me this weekend (she loves Mattie), which was an excellent, if long, history lesson—I'm not sure Universal will be able to convince people to see it though! And it's not an Oscar contender. Blooddiamond The real weekend numbers (as opposed to the weekend guesstimates) are interesting: Happy Feet was actually in second place and is holding really well. Did Sony inflate third-place The Holiday's numbers for the first story that everyone reads, knowing the real numbers would be different the next day?

Happy Feet is going to beat Cars for the Oscar, if not the boxoffice. Why? Because George Miller is an artist, just as John Lasseter is, but he's a respected live-action director working in a new medium, innovating, in fact, and he has fashioned a classic feel-good topical story. Cars, despite its boxoffice dominance, is not the best of all the fabulous Pixar movies. It's wonderful, but it's not the best. Happy_feet_3

Meyers ate Ed Zwick's lunch with The Holiday, even though her comedy did middling business. But it will grow—there are never enough films for women out there. Zwick's Blood Diamond, on the other hand, which cost some $100 million, only grossed $8.6 million! It suffered from looking like other movies we've seen before, and it should not have gone up against Mel Gibson's thrill-ride Apocalypto, which was ORIGINAL, and was chasing the same male audience. And because Zwick was so anxious to nab an Oscar nom or two, the WB marketing stressed the conflict diamond angle. People don't go to movies like this for their political content. They go to be entertained, and the marketing certainly didn't emphasize that.

Zwick put me to sleep (literally) last night intoning about conflict diamonds as I was watching the Oprah Blood Diamond show. I was wide awake for Leo and Djimon. Zwick also looked like hell, poor guy. He killed himself making this movie as good as it is. But he should have left the Oscars out of it. That's hubris. With this disastrous $8 million opening, they'll be lucky to get the acting nods for Leo and Djimon.


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