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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Fox Sneaks We Bought A Zoo; Early Reviews

    With theatrical box office more important than ever, the studios have gone back to a tried-and-true method of building word-of-mouth for movies they believe in--sneak previews. Disney has sneaked "War Horse" twice now, and Paramount threw "Young Adult" into key markets as well. Saturday, Twentieth Century Fox booked Cameron Crowe's bid to escape movie jail, "We Bought a Zoo," on 800 screens nationwide in advance of its December 23 release. I checked out the movie at L.A.'s Arclight.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    A "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" Thanksgiving Weekend At The Box Office; "Tower Heist" Fizzles; "The Help" Still In The Top 20

    Despite all the wonderful buzz around The Muppets, it couldn't trump the box office behemoth that is the Twilight saga, which stayed on top on the charts this week, taking in another $42 million (in its second week), bringing its cume to a whopping $221+ million. Throw in the $152+ million it's made overseas, and Breaking Dawn Part 1 has grossed over $374 million across the globe... and I still haven't seen a single installment from the uber-successfull franchise; Not a single minute; I just can't bring myself to watch any of them, even for free. But my dollars obviously aren't having any effect; this is one of the highest grossing franchises in film history. 

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Listen Now! If You Missed The S&A Live Podcast Show

    The S&A crew is off today, due to the holiday, but if you missed our fabulous show from last week, here's your chance to check it out! It's a beautiful Sunday and you've already had your fourth plate of Thanksgiving leftovers so why not enjoy some film chit-chat?! So what did we talk about? Two heavyweights...Steve McQueen and Tyler Perry.

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    More: Podcast
  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Breaking Dawn Gobbles Thanksgiving Holiday Box Office, Muppets Leads Family Film Glut, Hugo Stumbles

    The Thanksgiving holiday weekend offered a rich groaning board for mainstream and specialty audiences alike as more films pushed into the award season fray. Holdover "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part One" and new Disney musical "The Muppets" dominated the weekend, while "The Descendants" proved a powerful word-of-mouth hit for Fox Searchlight. On the downside, Martin Scorsese's $150-170 million 3-D period family film "Hugo" needed much bigger opening numbers to make back its production and marketing costs.

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  • The Playlist
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    Weekend Box Office: It's A 'Twilight' Thanksgiving While 'The Muppets' Wins The Family Film Battle Royale

    It's Thankgiving, which means people spend time and money to go see their loved ones, only to get away from them as fast as possible. And always the first to escape from dull holiday festivities, it looks like teens (and Moms who should know better) kept flocking to see Edward and Bella fang bang as "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1" took the top spot in week number two, taking in $62.3 million over the five day long weekend. However, the franchise is becoming increasingly front-loaded with its biggest second week drop over, hovering somewhere around 76%. Even so, the film should have at least one more solid week in the bank as next weekend is a bizarrely barren with no major release scheduled. However, it will likely be leap-frogged by this weekend's number two movie "The Muppets."

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  • Press Play
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    VIDEO SLIDE SHOW: The Muppets' greatest hits

    After Jim Henson’s death, the Muppet troupe spent a couple of decades wandering the pop culture wilderness, trying but mostly failing to get in touch with the magic that once fueled their popularity. They got a big step closer two winters ago, when “Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody,” their first hit viral video, debuted on YouTube. This week they’ve got their first big-screen hit in almost three decades, “The Muppets,” written by and co-starring comic actor and Henson obsessive Jason Segel. “It bumbles along episodically from one thing to the next — hey-ho! — and captures the spirit of Henson’s ‘Muppet Show’ admirably,” writes my colleague Andrew O’Hehir.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Feel-Good & Earnest 'We Bought A Zoo' Hits All The Heartwarming Notes

    Pitched somewhere between an earnest and romantically idealistic chronicle of loss and hope and a poignant examination of grief and bitter pains of family, Cameron Crowe's "We Bought A Zoo," occasionally still slathers it on too thick with the saccharine sentimentality and telegraphed romantic clichés, but by and large, the picture still succeeds in its heartwarming aims thanks to its naked, heart-on-its sleeve sincerity. Not an easy trick in an age of cynicism and information, but one that ultimately works regardless.

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  • ReelPolitik
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    Occupy Cinema Perseveres; Sunday Night Shorts in Zuccotti Park

    If Occupy Wall Street has suffered physical setbacks in the last week, several events surrounding the movement continue. On the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving weekend, and that unhappy vision of capitalist excess known as Black Friday, the collective known as Occupy Cinema is screening three films at 5pm in the now famous/infamous Zuccotti Park, with work by Abigail Child, Henry Hills and Saul Levine that "explore issues of police crowd control, urban homelessness and the economic difficulties of avant-garde artists."

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  • Press Play
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    Jason Segel's THE MUPPETS proves it's time for Kermit & Co. to pack it in

    In his effort to revitalize the brand, Jason Segel exposes his fondness for the Muppets as boldly as he exposed his naked body in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. No hidden agendas here, The Muppets is packed with full-frontal nostalgia that suggests not just Segel’s desire to relive the magic of yesteryear but also his fervent belief that the Muppets’ charms can cast an equally powerful spell today. The Muppets, which Segel co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller, opens with an outright appreciation of The Muppet Show and the not so subtle implication that Segel spent his childhood feeling as if the Muppets were part of his family. If you’re a hardcore fan and realize how much the brand’s spirit has strayed from its roots since Jim Henson’s death in 1990, this is exactly the kind of opening you want to see, and it’s equally encouraging when, not much later, Segel’s Gary and his brother Walter (a Muppet performed by Peter Linz) break into song. The film’s rousing opening number, “Life’s a Happy Song,” captures some of the cherished Henson-era optimism and sweetness in its title alone, and the lyrics have a casually playful absurdity to them that feels just right. But the capper is a massive dance routine at the end of the song, when the citizens of Smalltown, USA, come flooding into the frame to form a leg-kicking, jazz-handsing chorus, creating a spectacle that would rank among the all-time greatest Muppet moments if not for one small problem. None of them are Muppets.

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  • The Playlist
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    'The Dark Knight Rises' Prologue Confirmed For December 21st; Plus New Pics From The Film

    In all the excitement last week over Empire's debut of two new looks at Batman and Bane on the cover of their latest issue, a small morsel of important info from "The Dark Knight Rises" seemed to be overlooked. Just as they did in the run up for "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. are planning to give audiences a healthy, early taste of the final installment of the trilogy. If you go to a select IMAX cinema starting December 21st, you'll get a look at the first six or seven minutes of the upcoming movie.

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