What a difference an Oscar-nominated picture can make. Last July, in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie-theater shootings, Harvey Weinstein generated headlines, and some snickering in the film industry, when, in an interview with the Huffington Post, he called for a filmmaker summit on movie violence. But now that he's got Quentin Tarantino's bloody, gunplay riddled Django Unchained movie vying for a Best Picture Oscar, his perspective has changed. In a recent interview with Deadline, Weinstein, who's never been content to ride in the back seat, said he has to be "a follower, not a leader" on the issue. more »
Quentin Tarantino probably had a vastly different idea of how the months leading up to the 85th Academy Awards would transpire for him. As he began to promote Django Unchained, he no doubt expected to spend the majority of Awards Season talking about America's legacy of slavery, about his decision to portray it as unambiguously horrific, and how the peculiar institution has historically been treated in film.
After a momentary holiday lull, it’s back on! Or as Calvin Candie says in Django Unchained. "We got us a fight going on that's a good bit of fun." Academy voters were given one extra day to mull over their Oscar nomination ballots, thanks to a voting deadline extension necessitated by complaints and concerns over the Academy’s first-ever electronic voting system. They could use that 24 hours to digest the Producers Guild Award nominations, which were announced Wednesday, a day early.
The lessons of Quentin Tarantino's interview with Terry Gross on NPR? He has a high tolerance for "viscera" and a low tolerance for questions that attempt to connect Sandy Hook and other incidents of actual violence to the kind found in movies. The Django Unchained director became audibly peeved when Gross asked him the question that every reporter feels compelled to ask filmmakers in the wake of the Connecticut shootings. more »
Even as he anticipated the sunset of his filmmaking career recently, Quentin Tarantino is looking ahead to who he'd like to work with, and Johnny Depp tops the list. The Django Unchained director said he'd like Depp to star in a future pic, but will only cement plans once he's written the perfect part for the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.
The film starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio is riddled with the N-word, but that has not turned off African American audiences. Also in Thursday's news round-up, the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to investigate CIA contacts with the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers; DiCaprio is headed for Santa Barbara fest honors; and John Turturro doc will bow NYC non-fiction series.
So, right before 2012 ended, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua piped up from Capri, Italy to assert that Spike Lee should not have publicly criticized Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained for the movie's spaghetti-western-style depiction of slavery. And to that I can only say, "Huh?" If ever there's a movie made to be publicly, loudly — and heatedly — debated, it's QT's anti-slavery epic. more »
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey surpassed the competition at the box office over the long New Years weekend, outgrossing powerhouse newcomers Django Unchained and Les Misérables in their first full weekends in theaters.
The first installment of the Hobbit trilogy grossed a chart-topping $48.3 million in the Friday to Tuesday holiday period in 4,100 theaters. That was nearly $3.788 million more than the overall box office's runner-up, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, though it should be noted that that title screened in 1,090 fewer theaters. The result is that Django scored the highest per screen average among the top 10, with $14,788 vs. The Hobbit's $11,780. Django grossed $44.513 million over the long weekend.
Fellow Christmas opener Les Misérables took in $41.14 million over the five-day holiday, placing third and a strong $14,620 average.
The Box Office Top 10 with numbers from the New Years Friday - Tuesday holiday:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Gross: $48,300,511 (Cume: $238,001,325)
Theaters: 4,100 (PSA: $11,780)
2. Django Unchained
Gross: $44,513,232 (Cume: $77,833,497 - Xmas Day Opener)
Theaters: 3,010 (PSA: $14,788)
3. Les Misérables
Gross: $41,140,685 (Cume: $87,579,110 - Xmas Day Opener)
Theaters: 2,814 (PSA: $14,620)
4. Parental Guidance
Gross: $23,667,732 (Cume: $38,456,424 - Xmas Day Opener)
Theaters: 3,367 (PSA: $7,029)
5. Jack Reacher
Gross: $21,262,535 (Cume: $51,815,693)
Theaters: 3,352 (PSA: $6,343)
6. This Is 40
Gross: $18,678,740 (Cume: $42,609,030)
Theaters: 2,914 (PSA: $6,410)
Gross: $12,122,623 (Cume: $136,652,420)
Theaters: 1,966 (PSA: $6,166)
8. The Guilt Trip
Grosss: $10,424,431 (Cume: $24,834,787)
Theaters: 2,431 (PSA: $4,288)
9. Monsters, Inc.
Gross: $9,831,867 (Cume: $21,958,331)
Theaters: 2,618 (PSA: $2,463)
10. Rise of the Guardians
Gross: $7,644,497 (Cume: $92,891,627)
Theaters: 2,055 (PSA: $2,381)
[Source: Box Office Mojo]
You might have heard the shocking news that Django Unchained features copious use of the word 'nigger'. I know! I can't understand why a film set in the antebellum South, featuring numerous unrepentant slaveowners, during a time when black people were considered barely human as a matter of course, would have so many n-bombs. Sure, the word is almost exclusively spoken by villains or by black people to refer to themselves, and sure, it is one of the few aspects of the film that is 100% historically accurate, but come on. How rude of Quentin Tarantino to include it and make the harsh depiction of the slavery era even more uncomfortable.
2012 was a ho-hum year for "serious" cinema. As proof, the Oscar race has narrowed to films like the chipper Argo and dreary Zero Dark Thirty — a chase so routine that the alternative is a Steven Spielberg period piece as wholesome and agreeable as enriched bread. But it was also a banner year for the films that we'll still want to watch in 2022: Ambitious over-reachers (Cloud Atlas, The Master, Les Miserables), loony passion projects (Killer Joe, Magic Mike, The Paperboy), and perfect popcorn flicks (Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, Premium Rush).
That last category is frequently left off top ten lists, but it deserves our applause. When studios get tired of risking $250 million on a single blockbuster (and audiences get tired of paying $14 just to keep up with water cooler conversation), mid-priced modest hits like Looper will be our collective salvation — and help build the next generation of filmmakers and stars. The films that made my Top Ten did so because they were bold, memorable and flawless (or at least two of the three). But of course, if critics can judge art, we should take our own creative risks. And so I've written my remarks in haiku.
Django Unchained will not be making filmmaker Spike Lee's year-end top 10 list nor any other list for that matter because he says he won't see it. The outspoken Red Hook Summer director said the slavery-centered feature by Quentin Tarantino may deal with the topic in a manner that is less than respectful.
John Ford may be one of American cinema's great directors, but Quentin Tarantino has some choice words for the maker of such film classics as The Searchers, Stagecoach, and The Grapes of Wrath: "To say the least, I hate him," Tarantino told The Root in a recent conversation about Django Unchained. What's more, he says Ford inspired him to write a scene in Django Unchained in which comically inept proto-Klansmen get their just desserts.
Christmas Day was anything but misérable for Les Misérables at the box office. The Oscar hopeful scored the second biggest single-day Christmas opening, cashing in with $18 million, according to Hollywood.com.
Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington play the star-crossed lovers of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, and I recently got a chance to sit down with both actors to talk about their roles and the film, which continues to build awards-season buzz. more »