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    Comic-Con: Iron Man 2

    The audience in Hall H was ramped up for Iron Man 2. They booed moderator Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood, who plowed on. (I had read some Tweets complaining about him earlier today.) Sure enough, he was flustered and not in tune with the Hall H crowd, which is fairly sophisticated.

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    #SDCC Looks: Iron Man 2, Whiteout, Nightmare on Elm Street

    As I head to San Diego for my umpteenth Comic-Con, I feel equal parts anticipation and dread. It's fun and I'll learn a lot that I want to know--but it's exhausting, large-crowd, insane circus fun.

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    Master and Commander Redux

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has all the elements of the kind of movie that keeps studio heads up at night: it's literary (based on the Patrick O'Brian seafaring series), period (Napoleonic), expensive (close to $150 million), packed with action (swords, pistols, rifles and cannons) and VFX (ships at sea under fire). That's why, even though the Napoleonic adventure movie looks like a success, grossing $209.5 million worldwide, it was a nail biter for Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman at the time. (He took on partners in the venture, and had to push back the release to get the FX finished.) The well-reviewed awar...

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    Transformers: ROTF Passes $300 Million

    Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has passed the $300 million in 14 days. The sequel is so hugely successful that it encourages the studios to keep pursuing the same dispiriting tentpole dream. It's not a question of Michael Bay being a crap director. He's clearly in the zone of knowing what audie...

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    Public Enemies: Can Depp Save Mann's HD Biopic?

    Universal is counting on one thing to open Michael Mann's Public Enemies: Johnny Depp. According to The Ulmer Scale, he's the second most popular movie star in the world, after Will Smith. That's based on his hugely successful roles as broadly comedic, over-the-top Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirate...

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    Paramount Scores Orci and Kurtzman Project

    It's not surprising that new Paramount production head Adam Goodman took advantage of his DreamWorks insider status and nabbed a high-profile project, License to Steal, from the super-hot screenwriter-producing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. This buy of an overtly commercial Salon feature about globe-trotting Repo men chasing luxury planes and boats was pursued by several top directors and producers. It signals that an inside-Hollywood pro is back in charge, and the once-quiet studio is back in buying mode. When Paramount put into turnaround projects such as John Carter of Mars and Twilight , that sent another signal: the studio didn't ...

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    Transformers' LaBoeuf: Troubled Star

    What a difference two years makes. The picture on left of Shia LaBeouf ran in Parade Magazine when Disturbia made him into a star. The photo on the right ran this week in Parade in advance of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Here's http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940483.html?categoryid=31&c...

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    Tarantino Update

    In my interview with Quentin Tarantino, he admits that he plans to go back to the editing room with Inglourious Basterds this June. He rushed the movie, getting it done in less than a year to make Cannes, and delivered a cinephile's fantasy:

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    Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino Talks

    As Cannes wound down, writer-director Quentin Tarantino sat down for an interview about his long-awaited World War II opus, Inglourious Basterds. We talked about issues of structure, length and purpose:

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    Star Trek Opens Strong; Kurtzman and Orci Talk

    You can look at tracking all you want, and listen to studio marketers downplaying expectations. But truth is, if a movie plays as well as Star Trek does, the word gets out. The movie opened to an estimated $31 million on Friday (including Thursday night numbers), and we know that the WOM will be str...

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