It’s December, the time of year when it’s okay to dust off that Christmas movie you’ve seen a million times. Some like It’s a Wonderful Life, others prefer A Christmas Story. Whatever the film may be, it left you with an undeniable association with Christmas.
What if I told you, however, that some of the most iconic moments or some of the most memorable characters almost didn’t happen at all? Or that things weren’t exactly what they seem. Here are the top 5 facts you never knew about your favorite Christmas movie:
1. It’s a Wonderful Life was meant for Cary Grant and not Jimmy Stewart
Hard to picture the suave, romantic, leading man that Cary Grant became being the small town hero that Jimmy Stewart came to immortalize, but it almost happened. RKO Pictures purchased the rights to what would eventually become It’s a Wonderful Life in 1939 for the express purpose of giving Grant another leading role. Unfortunately, as it happens quite often in Hollywood, things didn’t turn out the way they were planned. Several failed screenplays left RKO unsure about the project. Producer/Director Frank Capra swooped in immediately, after being enamored with the project, and purchased the rights from RKO. Eight years later and It’s a Wonderful Life was finally brought to life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed as the central characters. Continue reading →
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s important to remember the films that help to remind us just how crazy Thanksgiving can be. Unlike Christmas or birthdays, family interactions are not hidden behind festive gift-giving. For that reason, it makes for a fantastically interesting backdrop for cinematic drama.
The first film we’ll look at is Pieces of April (2003), directed by Peter Hedges (writer of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and director of The Odd Life of Timothy Green) and starring Katie Holmes. This Thanksgiving dark comedy focuses on April, a young woman looking to host her family for Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately April lives in a rough part of New York City, has little to no cooking skills and, coupled with her mother’s terminal illness, has little chance of keeping things civil. The production value is gritty and the humor is cringe-worthy, helping to make this one of the most unique holiday films on the market. Continue reading →
Mulino’s Restaurant is much different in the winter months than it is any other time of year. Shedding it’s upscale, Italian restaurant, decor for a more holiday feel, Mulino’s has become well known for it’s fondness of the Christmas season.
The night before their beautiful wedding at The Plaza Hotel, Meredith and Justin enjoyed time with friends and family at Pazza Notte in midtown Manhattan. Filled with smiles, speeches and champagne, the night was one to remember.
It was another runaway success this weekend for Oz The Great and Powerful but there was an unexpected twist to what was otherwise a similar weekend to last year. Oz held strong, although not as strong as Alice in Wonderland. The $41 million weekend helps set the Disney adventure picture well on its course for $250 million when it finally closes.
To call the success of Halle Berry’s latest film The Call unexpected would be an understatement. The film which was co-produced by TriStar and WWE Films, saw a $17 million opening weekend. Distributor Sony’s aggressive marketing campaign helped ticket buyers understand, early on, what they were getting into. That knowledge definitely contributed to the film’s strong opening. Attendees skewed female, not surprisingly, and reviews were favorable for the most part. A film like this never holds incredibly well after its first week but expectations are that it will finish around the $45 million mark. That would be considered a huge success considering where this film was headed just a few months earlier. Continue reading →
After two months of flops and less than stellar numbers that have left the business well behind last year’s figures, Oz The Great and Powerful has arrived to be the shining beacon of hope. At $79 million, Oz became the first film to crack $50 million in one weekend since The Hobbit. Overall the totals are up 15 percent from last year when John Carter reigned supreme with a minimal $30 million weekend.
The success of 2010′s Alice in Wonderland laid the groundwork for Oz‘s success in 2013. With a release in the same month two years earlier, Disney found a winning formula with fantasy, PG, entertainment. Oz didn’t venture far from that formula and found similar success. They also grabbed a battle tested director that added an edge to keep the film from falling too far into the children’s genre. Sam Raimi has once again found success with a previously established brand. His success and visual style with Spider-Man found a home in the land of Oz. Continue reading →
While it’s not an overwhelming victory, Bruce Willis will reign over the President’s Day weekend as A Good Day to Die Hard finishes on top of the box office. Finishing up just shy of $29 million, the fifth installment of the Die Hard series may be the last or perhaps the last to be rated R. The previous film Live Free or Die Hard took in roughly $48 million on its opening weekend and that wasn’t a holiday release. In the end, A Good Day to Die Hard may not even crack $100 million. Where the finger should be pointed for the blame isn’t quite as clear. Although many will say that the PG-13 rating gave them the ability to get more eyeballs on the screen. Throwing in overseas numbers, this latest Bruce Willis action film will be seen as a success for Fox. However, whether or not the gamble on future films will be necessary remains to be seen.
Identity Thief finished second and nearly took first place for the first time. Adding the $27 million into the mix and the Melissa McCarthy driven comedy is the highest grossing film of the year thus far. With a string of comedies in the works for McCarthy, she may be taking the reigns as the queen of comedy in Hollywood in the coming months. Identity Thief is well on its way to becoming the first film in 2013 to reach $100 million. While this is no slight on the success of the film, it is quite telling that Identity Thief is the most successful film of the year. Most of the films have seemingly felt like leftovers from 2012 or sequels to franchises years in the making. This will of course change as 2013 rolls on but the slow start has left the major films of the year with quite a load to carry. Continue reading →