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Studios

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    Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes

    What a difference a year makes. With Iron Man and an Oscar nom for Tropic Thunder behind him, A-list movie star Robert Downey, Jr. had a good Comic-Con. Backstage after Iron Man 2, he suggested that he's uncomfortable marketing movies, although he knows he has to do it, and that he hated the whole H...

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    Hollywood Confronts New Austerity

    Patrick Goldstein calls around to nail down the new austerity hitting Hollywood. And Kim Masters details pay cuts for Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise, as well as how cost-cutter Disney is trying to deal with spendthrift producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the exemplar of Hollywood's old ways.

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    Studios Play it Safe

    Steven Spielberg is directing a remake of the Universal/Broadway classic Harvey; he's seeking a star like Tom Hanks or Will Smith to star. Fox is partnering with DreamWorks/Reliance to produce the movie about a six-foot, invisible rabbit.

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    Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit

    Universal execs are heaving a huge sigh of relief with the $23.5 million estimated opening weekend for Judd Apatow's edgy comedy Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. The movie scored mixed reviews and played best for men. Women hated it . It's a pity that t...

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    Cameron talks Avatar

    When I talked to James Cameron at Comic-Con (below), he admitted that he and producer Jon Landau know that they have a lot of heavy lifting to do before the 3D sci-fi epic Avatar hits screens on December 18. 24 minutes of footage played great at the Con, where Cameron announced that Fox will screen ...

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    An Education Poised for Awards Contention

    Lone Scherfig and Nick Hornby's An Education emerged from Sundance as a serious awards contender. Anyone who saw the film there witnessed a remarkable debut: Carey Mulligan boasts Audrey Hepburn-style class, charisma and smarts. In the film, she's well-cast as a sharp and sexy 60s high schooler burs...

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    Fox Searchlight's Crazy Heart Acquisition Marks Changing Market

    In one of the first acquisitions since Peter Rice left Fox Searchlight to run Fox TV, Searchlight co-presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula acquired worldwide rights to rookie director Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart, which stars Jeff Bridges as an aging country star and Maggie Gyllenhaal as a young rep...

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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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    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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