The Weekend Report Archive for November, 2008

Jingle All the Way

It was a gift exchange as Americans rose from Thanksgiving tables to make the turkey trot to Four Christmases, which topped holiday viewing with an estimated $46.6 million for the five-day span. Though shy of a record breaker, business was brisk; experiencing a slight boost from 2007 but falling short of earlier sessions in 2005…

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Fang You Very Much

Twilight, the teen vampire romance sensation, bit down hard to debut with an estimated $72.7 million and command about 44% of weekend ticket buying revenues. The session also saw the bow of the animated family film Bolt, which ranked third with $26.8 million in a frame that saw the sort of expansion Wall Street dreams…

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Shakin’ All Over

Five decades of good will added up to a staggering estimated debut of 00-$71.1 million for the 22nd James Bond (under the Broccoli imprimatur), Quantum of Solace. It was the biggest bow-wow for the enduring series domestically and wound up selling about 46% of all movie tickets; its anticipated potency had potential competitors steering clear…

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The Lion in Autumn

The animated antics of Madagascar: Back 2 Africa roared to an estimated $63.3 million to corral about 45% of weekend ticket sales. Despite its dominance, there was still ample room for a potent bow for the teen comedy Role Model of $19.1 million to rank second. The third national newcomer – the urban musical comedy…

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Boo!

All Hallow’s Eve spooked the box office with debuts and holdovers crushed Friday as the nation dressed up and hit the streets but not the multiplexes. Even with a Saturday bounce back overall and individual performances were tepid with High School Musical once again leading the session with an estimated $14.8 million. Slacker comedy Zack…

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook