Monthly Archives: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing You A Happy New Year! Go 2013!!!

Wishing You A Happy New Year! Go 2013!!!

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Parental Guidance: “… should hold up nicely in the new year”

EW Box office report: ‘The Hobbit’ outdraws ‘Django’ and ‘Les Mis’ with $32.9 million December 31, 2012 Despite the arrival of two holiday heavyweights, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” retained the top spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row. Warner Bros.’ $250 million fantasy prequel was held out of the top spot from Tuesday until Thursday by “Les Miserables,” but over the traditional weekend frame “Hobbit” dipped only 11 percent to bring in $32.9 million, and its domestic total now stands tall at $222.7 million. After 17 days, “The Hobbit” is performing well ahead of 2001′s “The Fellowship of the Ring,” which had earned $189.3 million at the same point in its run (though that number climbs to about $260 million after accounting for inflation), but it still trails the 17-day cumes of “The Two Towers” ($243.6 million), and “The Return of the King” ($272.8 million). Notably, those films did not have 3D or IMAX surcharges boosting their totals. This is not meant to imply that “The Hobbit” is underperforming. Like so many modern Hollywood tentpoles, The Hobbit’s strong business overseas is the main component of its success. On Friday, the film smashed through the $600 million mark worldwide, and by the time the ball drops, its worldwide total will likely have surpassed $700 million. That’s a treasure that would impress even Smaug. In second place, “Django Unchained” galloped away with a terrific $30.7 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, bringing its total to $64 million since its Christmas day debut. The Quentin Tarantino-directed Western, which The Weinstein Co. says cost $87 million to produce, has performed remarkably well for a controversial, R-rated film in a season often dominated by family-friendly/inspirational tales. Last year, many blamed a poor release date for the lackluster performance of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which settled for $102.5 million total, but “Django’s” fantastic opening week counters those assumptions. Given its robust debut, “Django Unchained” will very likely become Tarantino’s highest-grossing film ahead of 2009′s “Inglorious Basterds,” which earned $120.5 million total. Weinstein has every reason to believe it will reach that level. Not only was Django’s $10,195 per theater average (from 3,010 theaters) the best in the Top 10, it earned an “A-” CinemaScore grade from polled audiences, which were 56 percent male. After winning Christmas day and spending its first three days atop the box office, “Les Miserables” finished the weekend in third place with $28.0 million. Universal’s $61 million adaptation of the beloved operetta (which is, in turn, an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel) has earned a terrific $67.4 million in its first six days (plus another $48.7 million internationally), and although it has exhibited some frontloadedness due to up-front excitement from passionate fans, its “A” CinemaScore grade (and ample awards buzz) should help it hold up in the weeks to come. “Les Miserables” has already outgrossed the last December-released musical, Nine, which flopped with just $19.7 million in 2009, and it will quickly surpass “Dreamgirls,” which opened in December 2006 and scored $103.4 million total, as well. Only time will tell whether “Les Mis” can match the impressive $170.7 million total of Chicago, which began a platform release in December 2002 and rode a wave of awards attention to box office glory, but for now, its prospects don’t look miserable at all. Fox’s Billy Crystal/Bette Midler vehicle “Parental Guidance” survived poor reviews and earned a not-bad $14.8 million over the weekend — the exact same amount it earned in its first three days of release. After six days, Guidance has earned $29.6 million against a modest $25 million budget, and with an “A-” CinemaScore grade and a dearth of family-oriented competition, it should hold up nicely in the new year. Paramount’s $60 million Tom Cruise thriller “Jack Reacher” rounded out the Top 5 with $14.0 million, marking a 10 percent drop from its inauspicious debut. After ten days, the novel adaptation has earned a rather unimpressive $44.7 million. 1. The Hobbit — $32.9 million 2. Django Unchained — $30.7 million 3. Les Miserables — $28.0 million 4. Parental Guidance — $14.8 million 5. Jack Reacher — $14.0 million In milestone news, “Skyfall” reached the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office this weekend. It is the fourteenth film to ever reach that mark. Next week, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” will attempt to cut down “The Hobbit” and “Django Unchained.” Will it prevail? Check back to EW to find out. Happy New Year!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

“Parental Guidance” off to spiffy start in seven markets!

The Hollywood Reporter Foreign Box Office: ‘Hobbit’ Remains No. 1 Overseas; Approaching Half-Billion Mark December 30, 2012 “Parental Guidance” off to spiffy start in seven markets. Hollywood majors fail to achieve benchmark but Sony and Universal set company records. The foreign theatrical circuit ended 2012 with a box office bang as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey commanded the No. 1 spot with a weekend gross of $106.5 million at some 16,600 screens in 62 markets, raising the film’s overseas gross total to $464 million. Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic — the first installment of the director’s $500 million trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel – took a relatively benign dip of 12 percent from its second round in holdover markets, and has perched No. 1 offshore for three consecutive stanzas. An Australia debut generated an amazing $18.6 million from 560, and all but took over the market. The biggest holdover market is Germany where The Hobbit has registered a market total of $60 million. New to the foreign circuit was Twentieth Century Fox’s release of Walden Media-Chernin Entertainment’s Parental Guidance, which opened in seven markets to a bracing $7 million at 1,491 locations. The comedy costarring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler premiered best in Australia ($2.8 million at 234 sites) and in the U.K. ($2.1 million at 440). This week will bring 17 new market openings. Meanwhile, it appears certain that the major Hollywood studios – Fox, Disney, Universal, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. – have broken their recent string of consecutive yearly box office records set on the foreign theatrical circuit. Preliminary figures from each company put the studios’ collective 2012 taking at $13.485 billion, less than the $13.6 billion box office record set in 2011. Fox, which leads the six companies, scored a 21 percent jump in yearly foreign box office with a total of $2.725 billion registered this year versus $2.160 billion in all of 2011. The top title by far was the computer-animation Ice Age Continental Drift, which scored an amazing $718.1 million on foreign box office. Following from a distance were Titanic 3D ($291.9 million) and Promethueus ($277.6 million). Warner Bros. came in second with $2.670 billion for the year, down seven percent from last year and nine percent from the company’s foreign box office record of $2.930 billion set in 2010. The top two titles are The Dark Knight Rises, which grossed $634 million offshore, and The Hobbit. This year, Sony set a foreign box office record for the company, coming in with a total of $2.660 billion overseas – a 45 percent increase over the company’s 2011 total of $1.830 billion. Sony’s previous best was 2009 when it took in 2.142 billion in overseas box office. The latest James Bond sequel, Skyfall, was the big driver, grossing $622.8 million in Sony-handled offshore markets ($710.6 million overall including those markets handled by co-distributor MGM), the highest-grossing title ever released by Sony overseas. This year, the company also distributed The Amazing Spider-Man (grossing $491.9 million offshore) and Men In Black 3 ($445.7 million). Having its ups and down in 2012 was Disney, which recorded $2.080 billion in foreign box office, down 6 percent from 2011. The highlight, of course, was Marvel’s The Avengers, which tallied a huge $892.4 million in overseas earnings. The flip side was John Carter, which pulled a disappointing offshore tally of $208.2 million. Despite one or two high profile disappointments, Universal logged a record year overseas, taking in $1.788 billion in foreign box office — 41 percent higher than 2011 and 4 percent bigger than the company’s previous record of $1.716 billion set in 2008. Universal had six titles grossing over $100 million offshore including Ted ($284.3 million) and Snow White and the Huntsman ($245.3 million). With a contracted overseas release schedule, Paramount took a 51 percent tumble from 2011, grossing $1.562 billion offshore this year. It should be noted that last year set a foreign record for the company ($3.198 billion in offshore box office). The top earner this time was DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which collected $525.5 million offshore. And the biggest indie by far was Lionsgate, which collected $1.243 billion in foreign box office – up 280 percent from 2011 – on the strength of Twilight Saga:Breaking Dawn Part 2 (which drew $520.2 million offshore) and The Hunger Games ($284.8 million). Returning to weekend action, Fox’s Life of Pi continues strongly on the foreign circuit, drawing $39.2 million on the weekend from 8,394 spots in 56 territories, raising director Ang Lee’s film to a cume of $220 million, of which $90.8 million came from China. A Germany opening was particularly strong, drawing $7.1 million from 704 sites, and a second U.K. round drew $6.6 million from 1,015 venues for a market cume of $17 million. Life of Pi opens in nine markets this week including Australia, Russia and South Korea. Registering record market openings for a musical in South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia, Universal’s Les Miserables costarring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Ann Hathaway drew a weekend total of $38.3 million from a total of 1,698 venues in eight markets, lifting its early offshore cume to $48.7 million. The No. 1 Korea tally was a muscular $20.1 million over six days at 599 sites. In Hong Kong, the opening gross was $1.6 million including previews at just 31 playdates. In Australia, where the musical update opened on Boxing Day (Dec. 26), the opening launch delivered $8.3 million including previews over five days at 241 locations. Les Mis’ International rollout continues Jan. 11 with a U.K. opening. Opening in 25 markets including the U.K. and France, Paramount’s latest Tom Cruise action title, Jack Reacher, came up with $18.1 million from a total of 2,195 locations in 32 countries. Early overseas cume stands at $22.5 million. The No. 3 bow in the U.K. generated $5.5 million at 445 locations over five days. In France, the No. 2 debut delivered $4.4 million at 480 spots. Reacher opens this week at 17 markets including Australia, Germany, Italy and Mexico. DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians collected $11.6 million in its seventh round overseas from 5,151 locations in 59 markets. The Paramount release, a $145 million fantasy title featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman, lifted its foreign gross to $165.2 million. Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, grossed $10.3 million from 3,225 sites in 60 markets handled by Sony and licensees of co-distributor MGM. In the U.K., where Skyfall has been gangbusters, the film became over the weekend the first movie ever to break the 100-pound sterling mark at the local box office. U.K. cume stands at $161.6 million. Universal’s rom/com-musical Pitch Perfect grossed $6.2 million from 1,250 locations in 15 markets. The film’s early international gross total stands at $28.7 million. Weekend box office action in France was generally heated. The top local language title remained Mars Distribution’s De L’autre Cote De Periph starring Omar Sy. The police caper about two mismatched cops assigned to a murder case drew $5.6 million from some 480 screens – up some 40 percent from its opening session last round — sufficient for a No.2 market ranking. Market cume stands at $10 million. (The Weinstein Co. has domestic distribution rights.)
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Parental Guidance Holds Strong At Number Four ~ Makes Profit!

The Hollywood Reporter Holiday Box Office: ‘Hobbit’ No. 1 With $32.9 Mil; ‘Django’ Easily Beats ‘Les Mis‘ for No. 2 December 30, 2012 Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey cat e. 1 in its third weekend with $32.9 million, while Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained easily pulled ahead of Les Miserables to take the No. 2 spot at the domestic box office. The trio of films have dominated the Christmas season. Hobbit, which opened Dec. 14, has now grossed $222.7 million in North America and north of $600 million globally. Django, from The Weinstein Co., took in $30.7 million over the weekend for a six-day total of $64 million. Universal’s Les Mis, directed by Tom Hooper, posted weekend earnings of $28 million for a six-day domestic total of $67.4 million and a worldwide haul of $116.2 million. Both films have outpaced expectations since debuting Christmas Day and, along with other movies, should see a nice boost on Monday and Tuesday (New Year’s Day). Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, Django is playing better to women than expected, with females making up 44 percent of the audience. African-Americans also are flocking to the movie — about a slave who is freed by a bounty hunter — making up an estimated 30 percent of the audience. The film adaptation of the hit stage musical, Les Mis features an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. Les Mis has outperformed expectations at the North American box office, scoring the top opening day for a musical and the second-best Christmas Day opening of all time. Moviegoing surged on the final weekend of the year, capping a record-breaking year for ticket sales in North America. Revenues will hit $10.8 billion on Monday, eclipsing the $10.6 billion earned in 2009 and up 5.8 percent over last year’s revenue tally of $10.2 billion. Attendance also made something of a recovery, with an estimated 1.36 billion people going to the movies in 2012, up 6 percent over last-year’s 16-year low of 1.28 billion people. The Christmas season itself brought mixed results for Hollywood. Unusually crowded, there were eight nationwide releases between Dec. 19 and Dec. 25, leaving little room for error. Family comedy Parental Guidance — starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei — has held steady at No. 4 since debuting Christmas Day, exceeding expectations. From 20th Century Fox, the $20 million movie took in $14.8 million for the weekend for a six-day total of $29.6 million. Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher has been relatively soft since opening Dec. 21, considering Cruise’s star status. The Paramount pic grossed $14 million in its second weekend for a domestic total of $44.7 million and coming in No. 5. Reacher cost $60 million to produce. Universal’s This Is 40, from Judd Apatow, has disappointed, grossing $13.2 million over the weekend for a gross of $37.1 million. The R-rated comedy opened Dec. 21. Barbra Streisand-Seth Rogen comedy The Guilt Trip and Disney’s rerelease of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., both opening Dec. 19, are considered D.O.A. Guilt Trip grossed $6.7 million for the weekend for a domestic total of $21.1 million. Monsters, Inc. took in $6.3 million for a total of $18.5 million. The specialty box office also had its holiday winners and losers. Matt Damon-John Krasinski drama Promised Land, opening Dec. 28 in 25 locations, posted weekend earnings of $190,150 million for a disappointing location average of $7,606. The Focus Features movie reunites Damon with Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant. Focus is hoping the film’s performance improves once the crowded holiday frame is over. On Jan. 4, Promised Land will be playing nationwide in 1,500 locations. Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty continued to impress in its New York City and Los Angeles runs. The Sony movie earned $315,000 from five theaters for a impressive location average of $63,000 and a stellar cume of $1.4 million. The movie expands nationwide on Jan. 11. Here are the full results for the weekend of Dec. 28-20 at domestic box office: Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Three Day Weekend Total, Cume 1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 3/4,100, New Line/MGM, $32.9 million, $222.7 million. 2. Django Unchained, 1/3010, The Weinstein Co., $30.7 million, $64 million. 3. Les Miserables, 1/2,814, Universal, $28 million, $67.4 million. 4. Parental Guidance, 1/3,367, 20th Century Fox, $14.8 million, $29.6 million. 5. Jack Reacher, 2/3,352, Paramount, $14 million, $44.7 million. 6. This Is 40, 2/2,914, Universal, $13.2 million, $37.1 million. 7. Lincoln, 8/1,996, DreamWorks/Disney, $7.5 million, $132.3 million. 8. The Guilt Trip, 2/2,431, Paramount, $6.7 million, $21.1 million. 9. Monsters, Inc., 2/2,618, Disney/Pixar, $6.3 million, $18.5 million. 10. Rise of the Guardians, Paramount/DreamWorks Animation, $4.9 million, $90.2 million.
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BetteBack 1976: Bette’s Special Will Be Taped; Censors Worried About Off Color Language…LOL (September 14, 1976)

Lowell Sun September 14, 1976 NBC has tapped Bette Midler for her first special later this season. It will be taped, of course, since Miss Midler has been known to get off some colorful language in her “live” performances.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Parental Guidance: “This could be a film that holds on as a general audience alternative for the next few weeks.”

IndieWire Boffo Four-Day Holiday Box Office, Led by ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Django Unchained’ & ‘Les Miserables,’ Rings Out Record Year BY TOM BRUEGGEMANN DECEMBER 29, 2012 4:10 PM It’s an embarrassment of riches. The days following Christmas have been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in grosses. On Friday, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” repeated the #1 spot it regained on Thursday, but “Django Unchained” climbed ahead of “Les Miserables” for #2, with the latter falling to #3 narrowly after leading all films on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thus the ranking has been different each of the last four days, which is unheard of most of the time, but does occur during the intense holiday playtime as major hits sort themselves out and word of mouth takes hold. See Top Ten Chart below. The top three films continue to dominate the holiday week business, and irrespective of order are all quite strong. But patterns are starting to emerge that might take hold for the rest of the weekend and beyond. And a fourth film — “Parental Guidance“– is gaining some traction as the top PG-rated alternative among the newbies. Peter Jackson’s prequel passed the $200 million mark in 15 days, while the four-day totals for “Les Miserables” ($49 million) and “Django Unchained” ($43 million) place them behind “Sherlock Holmes” and “Marley and Me” as four-day top-grossers for a December 25 release. Both have much farther to go, with “Les Miserables” certain to have an Oscar push to bolster it shortly after. “Django”‘s Oscar chances are less certain, but at this point it seems to be propelled by strong word of mouth and is crossing over to a wider –and younger–non-holiday-boosted audience. Which film will wind up the biggest grosser remains to be seen. But both (along with the much more expensive “The Hobbit”) are major successes which have guaranteed that 2012, with unadjusted numbers, will be the top-grossing year ever. Total grosses for the Top Ten were up about six per cent from the same Friday last year, with the business more centered on the top three. But the Billy CrystalBette Midler comedy “Parental Guidance” is showing some strength. Its gross yesterday was better than the fourth for “War Horse” last year (also a Christmas opener), which ended up at $80 million. This could be a film that holds on as a general audience alternative for the next few weeks. More kids-oriented films would have boosted this year’s numbers. Thus “Monsters, Inc. 3D” and “Rise of the Guardians” — one a reissue, the other around since Thanksgiving — ranked only #8 and #10, weaker than the top kid-centered releases in most years. Last week’s openers “Jack Reacher” (#5) and “This Is 40” (#6) both continue to benefit from increased holiday movie attendance but an uncertain future much beyond the holidays. “The Guilt Trip” (#9) never has gained traction. Meantime, “Lincoln” (#7) enjoys its eighth week in the Top Ten, with likely more ahead as it steadily adds new revenues to its already incredible total, likely ultimately to top both “Les Miserables” and “Django Unchained.” Among the limited releases, Weinstein’s expansion of “Silver Linings Playbook” placed in 12th for the day, while Sony’s “Zero Dark 30,” still only in five theaters, continues to exhibit huge numbers in New York and Los Angeles in advance of its minor expansion next Friday and wide release on January 11.
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Video: Crystal and Midler tackle new role: grandparents

Watch the latest video at <a href=””></a>
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“The Hobbit” Back On Top; “Parental Guidance” Strong At Number Four!

On The Red Carpet ‘The Hobbit’ wins Friday box office, ‘Django Unchained’ nabs No. 2 spot December 29, 2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is still tops at the box office but the battle between “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables” is heating up. “The Hobbit” reclaimed the No. 1 spot at Friday’s box office, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and earned an estimated $10.7 million. The outlet reports that the film’s domestic total has hit $200.5 million after nearly three weeks in theaters. The film is expected to stay in first place throughout the weekend. “The Hobbit” features Martin Freeman the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo Baggins from “Lord of the Rings.” The first installment in the trilogy, “The Unexpected Journey,” sees Bilbo embark on a dangerous journey across Middle Earth with the help of Gandalf and a large group of dwarves to find treasure guarded by a dragon, Smaug. In second place is the Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained.” The movie earned an estimated $9.7 million on Friday, narrowly beating out “Les Miserables,” which earned $9.4 million. “Django Unchained” has taken in a domestic total of $43 million since opening on Christmas Day. The R-rated western-inspired film stars Jamie Foxx as an African American slave-turned-bounty hunter. Foxx’s character, Django, aims to rescue his wife, played by Kerry Washington. The movie also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, who appeared in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.” Although “Les Miserables” beat out “Django Unchained” at the box office on Christmas Day, the movie lost a little steam and placed third at the Friday box office. The musical broke two box office records on its release date — December 25 marked the highest opening day for a musical and the top weekday Christmas opening of all time. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, is an impoverished French man who is released from prison on parole after serving time for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister and her child and for failed attempts at escaping jail. (Check out 9 facts about Hugh Jackman and his “Les Miserables” experience) A police inspector named Javert, played by Russell Crowe, is obsessed with putting him back behind bars. The movie also stars Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Landing in fourth place at the Friday box office is the family comedy “Parental Guidance” with Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei. The film grossed an estimated $5.1 million and its four-day domestic haul is now $19.8 million. Rounding out the top five for Friday is the Tom Cruise action film “Jack Reacher,” which earned $4.1 million. The film, which has been out for two weeks, has earned $28.1 million domestically.
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“Parental Guidance” Keeping “Jack Reacher” At Bay

Showbiz 411 “Jack Reacher” Beaten by “Parental Guidance” Again, And It’s Easy to See Why 12/29/12 3:19am Roger Friedman The moment finally came last night. While my family was in seeing “Parental Guidance,” I sneaked next door and caught “Jack Reacher” at last. OMG, as the kids say these days. What was Tom Cruise thinking? “Jack Reacher” is losing box office daily to four other movies including the Bette Midler-Billy Crystal-Marisa Tomei flick and I can see why. “Reacher” is a befuddlement. It’s not exactly Tom Cruise’s fault, either. He is a fine actor–witness Jerry Maguire, Born on the Fourth of July, Magnolia. You can see him struggling to make “Reacher” work. But it can’t. Cruise is completely miscast. He doesn’t get to flash his trademark smile once. “Reacher” is all gloom and doom. The character should have been played by Bruce Willis. Or even Denzel Washington. Jack Reacher is described in the books this movie is based on as six foot five. The actor doesn’t have to be that tall precisely, but a large, older sense of resignation is needed. Cruise attempts it, but his physicality does work against him. “Reacher” is also a stagnant picture, and very talky. After the initial bout of sniper stuff (five people picked off, four of them women), “Reacher” has long sections of banter between Cruise and Rosamund Pike. Pike, by the way, must have been made to stand in trenches because she’s two or three inches taller than Cruise yet is often photographed alongside or below him. And you can tell. Anyway, Cruise’s strong suit is not glib give and take, or world weary wisecracking. He’s no Philip Marlowe. These scenes are quite exasperating. Also, I take back the idea that this film costs more than the producers say it did. It looks like it cost 50 cents. Cruise is the most expensive object in it. And the static scenes make the under-lit, under-decorated rooms all the more glaring. Tom Cruise and ‘sparse’ are not ideas that go together. Without things whizzing past him, and exploding, he seems a little lost. There’s talk that director Christopher McQuarrie is Cruise’s pick for the next Mission Impossible. Hmmm…As a writer maybe, but as a director? I’d rather have Tony Gilroy, who did so well this summer with The Bourne Legacy. Between this and “Valkyrie,” McQuarrie is better left to set pieces and small stages. PS I came out of “Jack Reacher” — and a quarter filled theater at 5:30pm — mostly perplexed. The family, however, loved “Parental Guidance.”
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“But, you know what, I did make it, so good for me…!!!

Columbus Dispatch Comedy puts Midler back on big screen By Ian Spelling NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE Thursday December 27, 2012 7:08 AM One day not too long ago, Bette Midler and Whoopi Goldberg sat down to chat. “Whoopi said, ‘I don’t think I would have made it in this day and age,’  ” Midler recalls. “I said, ‘Please, you? What about me?’  ” She shrugs. “It’s a very, very different world,” she says. “It’s, in a funny way, like what movies used to be, when movies were only about gods and goddesses. You had to have this kind of a face and this kind of a voice.” In a flash, Midler’s mood brightens and her trademark sass resurfaces. “But, you know what, I did make it,” she says. “So good for me — and good for her, too.” Hard as it might be to believe, Midler turned 67 on Dec. 1. In the course of her career, she has sold millions of albums; performed live throughout the world; raised tidy sums of money for charity; and acted in movies and on television, proving herself adept at both comedy and drama, with credits spanning from The Rose (1979), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and Beaches (1988) to Gypsy (1993), The First Wives Club (1996) and Then She Found Me (2007). Since 2010, when she completed a 180-performance, two-year run of The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Divine Miss M has been missing in action. That changed yesterday, when Midler returned to the screen in the family comedy Parental Guidance. She and Billy Crystal play Diane and Artie Decker, an old-school couple whose high-strung daughter (Marisa Tomei) very reluctantly calls upon them to watch her three young children while she joins her husband (Tom Everett Scott) on a business trip. “I’ve known Billy for years and years, because I lived in L.A. and I used to see him out and about,” Midler says. “I’ve always admired him and liked his work. I loved When Harry Met Sally . . . (1989), loved City Slickers (1991) and loved Mr. Saturday Night (1992). We’re very similar in temperament, and our senses of humor are pretty similar.” Though every bit a comedy, Parental Guidance also tugs at the heartstrings, Midler says. Crystal’s character is a good guy, but one who has been remiss in his duties as a father because he was so wrapped up in his career as a minor-league-baseball announcer. He has time to reconnect with his daughter and get to know his grandchildren only because the team, aiming to modernize, has fired him. “This is a second chance for him,” Midler says, “and, in order for him to find self-knowledge, he has to slay the dragons, who are these grandkids. I call it Home Alone for Grandparents. We are stuck there with those three kids. They’re not monsters, but . . . they are set in their ways and they are not budging.” A highlight of Parental Guidance is a simple, sweet scene in which Diane and Artie sing and dance together in their daughter’s kitchen. Unbeknownst to them, the three grandchildren are perched on the stairs nearby, soaking it in. The genesis of the scene, Midler reports, was that she and Crystal were trying to keep the three child actors from running amok on the set. “We’d been singing to the kids,” she says. “We’d sing to keep them calm and happy during the setups, which could be very long. So what else can you do, except sing? And we sang. We sang the novelty songs by the greats, by the Coasters and the Drifters and people like that. They’d never heard any of this music, because they’re three generations away from us. “Then . . . (the filmmakers) came and said, ‘Let’s do a song in the movie,’  ” she says. “(Director) Andy Fickman came to me. I think it was Billy’s idea, but he didn’t want to tell me. So they said, ‘Will you?’ I said, ‘I don’t want to do that.’ They said, ‘ Please, please,’ and I said, ‘OK.’ “It worked out,” Midler says, “and the reason I like it is that there’s us and then there’s them, the kids watching. That’s the magic of the scene, really, for them to see and hear us, for them to experience something they’ve never experienced.” Midler has been all over the map promoting Parental Guidance but has nothing else lined up. As she puts it, she’s “assessing the situation” and is in no rush to do anything. “I’ve got my family,” she adds, referring to her husband, Martin von Haselberg, and their 26-year-old daughter, Sophie. “These things take up a considerable amount of time.”
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