"This chronicle of 2012 is a slice of what happened during a watershed year for the Hollywood movie industry. It's not the whole story, but it's a mosaic of what went on, and why, and of where things are heading."
What changed in one Hollywood year to produce a record-breaking box office after two years of decline? How can the Sundance Festival influence a film's fate, as it did for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man, which both went all the way to the Oscars? Why did John Carter misfire and The Hunger Games succeed? How did maneuvers at festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW), Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, and New York and at conventions such as CinemaCon and Comic-Con benefit Amour, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, The Life of Pi, The Avengers, Lincoln, and Argo? What jeopardized Zero Dark Thirty's launch? What role does gender bias still play in the industry? What are the ten things that changed the 2012 Oscar race?
When it comes to film, Anne Thompson, a seasoned reporter and critic, addresses these questions and more on her respected daily blog, Thompson on Hollywood. Each year, she observes the Hollywood machine at work: the indies at Sundance, the exhibitors' jockeying at CinemaCon, the international scene at Cannes, the summer tentpoles, the fall's "smart" films and festivals, the family-friendly and big films of the holiday season, and the glamour of the Oscars®. Inspired by William Goldman's classic book The Season, which examined the overall Broadway scene through a production-by-production analysis of one theatrical season, Thompson had long wanted to apply a similar lens to the movie business. When she chose 2012 as "the year" to track, she knew that box-office and DVD sales were declining, production costs were soaring, and the digital revolution was making big waves, but she had no idea that events would converge to bring radical structural movement, record-setting box-office revenues, and what she calls "sublime moviemaking."
Though impossible to mention all 670-plus films released in 2012, Thompson includes many in this book, while focusing on the nine Best Picture nominees and the personalities and powers behind them. Reflecting on the year, Thompson concludes, "The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions, and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive these people are, and how flexible is the industry itself?"
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About the Author
Anne Thompson, who launched Indiewire's daily film blog Thompson On Hollywood for Variety in 2007, has covered the Hollywood beat for more than twenty-five years, writing for monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, and daily publications. For seven years she wrote the Risky Business column for the LA Weekly (and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate), followed by Filmmaker magazine and The Hollywood Reporter, where she also founded their first blog, Riskybiz, in 2005. Before that, she was West Coast Editor for Premiere, Empire, and Film Comment, and Senior Writer at Entertainment Weekly. She has also reported on film for the magazines Vanity Fair, More, Wired, Sight and Sound, Filmmaker, and New York, as well as for the newspapers the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the London Observer, and the Washington Post. Thompson currently hosts Sneak Previews at UCLA Extension, moderates and participates on industry panels, and does media interviews, especially at Oscar time, for such networks as MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Born and raised in Manhattan, she now lives in Los Angeles. The $11 Billion Year is her first book.
Table of Contents
1 January: The Sundance Film Festival 1
Searching for Sugar Man, The Sessions, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Safety Not Guaranteed, Black Rock, Your Sister's Sister, Arbitrage, Detropia, The Invisible War
2 March: Chasing the Franchise 43
John Carter vs. The Hunger Games
3 Spring: Cinemacon, Sxsw, and the Move to Digital 67
4 May: The Cannes International Film Festival 85
Amour, Moonrise Kingdom
5 July: Comic-Con and the Fanboys 109
DC vs. Marvel
6 The Fall Film Festivals 121
Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Lincoln
7 Women, Politics, and Zero Dark Thirty 157
8 The Holiday Dramas 179
Les Misérables, Django Unchained
9 Ten Things that Changed the Oscar Race 205
Box-Office Charts 255