The Weekend Report Archive for June, 2009

Transformers: Triumph of the Risen

The tracking was great … just not this seemingly boffo. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen smashed the competition with an estimated weekend gross of $110.8 million and a five-day near record gross of $200 million. That left the frame’s other wide release — the decidedly femme-centric, weepy My Sister’s Keeper — picking up scraps of…

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Wedding Bell Green

The Proposal was an offer the audience couldn’t refuse as the romantic comedy romped to an estimated $34.4 million debut to gain weekend bragging rights. The frame’s other national freshman — the caveman comedy Year One — grunted $20.1 million to finish fourth overall. New titles in limited or regional release had a few bright…

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Sub-way Stories

Hangover and Up once again dominated weekend ticket sales with respective grosses of $33.1 million and $30.7 million and that put the kibosh on new releases. The highly anticipated The Taking of Pelham 123 pulled into third spot with a just passable $24.6 million gross while the $5.6 million box office for Imagine That was…

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Land of the Loss

Belmont be damned … it was a photo-finish at the weekend box office with initial estimates giving the animated adventure Up a slight edge on the debut of the gonzo comedy The Hangover. First blush pegs Up with $44.5 million for a $200k lead on the new “boys’ night out” misadventure. The weekend’s other major…

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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