Thoughts, Ideas, and Concepts by Sandra Parks

Archive for the ‘Show Biz’ Category

Princess and the Frog’ hops to No. 1 with $25M

©Walt Disney Pictures

© Walt Disney Pictures
`Princess and the Frog’ hops to No. 1 with $25M
Dec. 13, 2009, 1:01 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “The Princess and the Frog” earned a big wet kiss from family audiences as the animated musical leaped to No. 1 with $25 million in its first weekend of nationwide release, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Disney musical is the studio’s first hand-drawn animated tale in five years, a contrast to the computer-animated films that now dominate the cartoon world.

“I’ve always believed that when you start with great storytelling, then the format aside doesn’t mean anything,” said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney.

The movie also is a return to Disney’s reinvention of classic fairy tales, offering a 1920s New Orleans twist on the Brothers Grimm story “The Frog Prince,” following the adventures of a young woman turned into a frog by a kiss from an amphibian.

Despite its No. 1 finish, “The Princess and the Frog” drew modest crowds compared to many big animated tales, which can open with two or three times as much business. Those films typically open during the busy summer season, though, and Disney is counting on the long shelf life that many films manage during the holidays.

“The Princess and the Frog” took over at No. 1 from the inspiring sports tale “The Blind Side,” which slipped to second-place with $15.5 million. Released by Warner Bros., “The Blind Side” raised its total to $150.2 million.

A surprise box-office sensation, “The Blind Side” is on its way to a domestic total of about $230 million, said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of distribution.

“The Blind Side” chronicles the real-life story of Baltimore Ravens rookie lineman Michael Oher, who had been a homeless teen taken in by a wealthy couple (Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw).

“It’s the heartland that’s pulling the strings of the movie,” Fellman said. “While it’s performing well everywhere, the response in smaller marketplaces and Christian communities has been outstanding.”

The film opened the same weekend as “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” but with only a fraction of that movie’s blockbuster business. Audience word-of-mouth has kept crowds coming for “The Blind Side,” while “New Moon” has waned to the No. 4 spot with an $8 million weekend, raising its domestic haul to $267.4 million.

Warner Bros. also had the No. 3 film with a $9.1 million debut for another inspirational sports drama, Clint Eastwood‘s Nelson Mandela saga “Invictus,” featuring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Freeman stars as the South African leader, who uses an underdog World Cup run by the country’s rugby team to help unite the racially divided nation.

Though it had a modest start, “Invictus” debuted in the range of Eastwood’s sober drama’s “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby” in their first weekends of wide release. Eastwood’s films draw older audiences and tend to have a long life at the box office, Fellman said.

The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson had a strong opening in limited release for “The Lovely Bones,” which pulled in $116,000 in three theaters.

The Paramount Pictures release features Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Stanley Tucci in an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-seller about a murdered girl looking back on her grieving family from the afterlife.

The Weinstein Co. drama “A Single Man” also started well with $216,328 in nine theaters. The film stars Colin Firth as a gay academic in the early 1960s who’s planning to end his life amid grief over his lover’s death.

Hollywood is poised for a big finish to its record box-office year, with James Cameron‘s science-fiction epic “Avatar” opening Friday, followed Christmas week by the family comedy “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” Robert Downey Jr.‘s action tale “Sherlock Holmes” and the nationwide expansion of George Clooney‘s comedy “Up in the Air.”

With nearly three weeks left in the year, 2009 domestic revenues already have set a new record of $9.79 billion, surpassing the previous high of $9.68 billion in 2007, according to Paul Dergarabedian, Hollywood.com box-office analyst.

Domestic grosses should top $10 billion for the first time within the next 10 days or so. Dergarabedian estimates that Hollywood will finish the year with $10.5 billion domestically.

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When will it ever stop???

Universal’s UK ‘Couples Retreat’ Poster Brings Cries of Racism by Removing Black Actors A racially-tinged advertising decision has gone awry for the movie “Couples Retreat.” Marketers of the Vince Vaughn comedy, which stars four couples in a tropical paradise, removed black actors Faizon Love and Kali Hawk from the promotional poster used in the United Kingdom after the U.S. version used all four couples. In response to outrage over the move, a Universal spokesman said the altered poster aimed “to simplify the poster to actors who are most [recognizable] in international markets.” U.S. Version U.K. Version While Love and Hawk aren’t generally as well known as the film’s other six stars, it’s still a questionable motive. As noted in a 2007 New York Times article, American films with black stars typically struggle in the overseas market. According to the article, Will Smith, the undisputed king of the American box office, ranks no better than twelfth when it comes to ticket sales internationally. Simply put, said industry watcher James Ulmer, “The international marketplace is still fairly racist.” However, there’s good news for those who believe the removal of Love and Hawk from the UK poster was racist: Universal issued a statement regretting any offense it caused, and the studio has scrapped all plans to use the modified poster in other overseas markets.

I can’t get the pictures to show but the first picture has Faizon Love and his mate in for the US promotion but the second one doesn’t.

So friends and family what do you think?

Australian TV show apologizes for blackface skit!!!

Australian TV show apologizes for blackface skit
Oct. 8, 2009, 5:06 AM EST

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — An Australian variety show host has apologized for a skit in which singers parodying the Jackson Five performed in blackface.

American singer and actor Harry Connick Jr., who was serving as a guest judge on Wednesday night’s “Hey Hey It’s Saturday,” was visibly shocked by the skit, in which four men with afro wigs and blackface sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white makeup.

Connick, 42, gave the performance a zero score and told them that if it had been done in the United States it would have been pulled off the air.

Blackface was a traditional trope of minstrel shows in the U.S. that dates to the 19th century. Whites playing stock black characters — usually offensive stereotypes meant to demean — rubbed coal, grease or shoe polish on their faces. Blackface performances are not common in Australia.

Public reaction to the “Hey Hey” performance in online forums was mixed. Some Australians said they were embarrassed such a racist sketch had been broadcast, while others said detractors were too politically correct and that the skit was funny.

Michael Jackson died June 25 at age 50.

At a news conference on other issues Thursday morning, opposition politician Helen Coonan labeled the skit “disgusting.”

Host Daryl Somers apologized to Connick at the end of the live show.

“I know that to your countrymen, that’s an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you,” Somers said.

Connick said he would not have appeared on the show if he’d known about the skit.

“I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart,” he told Somers after his apology.

Anand Deva, the frontman of the “Jackson Jive” act, said it was not meant to cause offense but added he would not have performed it in the United States.

“Hey Hey” ran for 27 years starting in 1971. The “Jackson Jive” group first appeared on the show 20 years ago and were invited back to reprise their roles during the second of two reunion shows for the once-popular program.

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