The unsung Heroes


The unsung Heroes

DON’T GET YOUR hopes up, we were told. Without a ‘Shrek’ or a ‘Spider-Man’ or a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or a ‘Harry Potter,’ summer 2008 was never going to live up to last year’s record $4.22 billion in domestic boxoffice.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 31 Aug 2008, 9:21 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

The cast of ‘Sex And The City’ which was one of the biggest hits of the season Yet here we are, heading into the final weekend of the season, on pace to approach - if not match - that vaunted number. May be the struggling economy helped nudge audiences to escape at the movies. Or perhaps the studios’s marter, edgier takes on proven formulas like ‘The DarkKnight’ and ‘IronMan’ were signs that the public will reward quality. Eitherway, the following people played key roles in pushing summer ‘08 toward the record book.Call them the best of the best.

Actor: Robert Downey Jr.

How much did Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel appreciate Downey’s performance in ‘IronMan?’Maisel bought the star a shiny new Bentley as a token of gratitude shortly after the film jump-started summer with a $98.6 million opening weekend on its way to $317.5 million domestically. Downey would have been forgiven for resting on his new leading-man image, but the same summer he delivered a hilarious performance in Ben Stiller’s ‘Tropic Thunder.’The DreamWorks movie has grossed about $71 million after two weeks, strong by Hollywood satire standards but hardly superhero numbers. Maybe DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider should buy Downey something less flashy, like a Mini.

Actresses: The Women Of ‘Sex And The City’

What was the audience that fuelled a stratospheric $388.5 million in worldwide boxoffice for an adaptation of HBO’s cult sex-and-shopping drama?“More straightmen than people might have thought,” jokes Sarah Jessica Parker, who produced the film as well as co-starred with Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall. “A lot of men stopped me and said, ‘I pretended I didn’t want to go and my wife dragged me, but I loved it’.”The show’s core audience of older women also turned out to see something unusual in theatres: themselves.

Director : Christopher Nolan

Take a second and Google ‘Angelina Jolie’ and ‘Catwoman.’ Then click on one of the 696,000search results for a taste of the fervour that has enveloped ‘The Dark Knight’ and its director. Nolan hasn’t even agreed to shoot a follow-up, saying only, “We’ll see,” before departing on awell-deserved vacation. Yet the fans who powered Warners’ biggest domestic hit ever ($492 million and counting) are already speculating breathlessly based on the little information known. Will Lucius Fox’s (Morgan Freeman) reference to the bat suit withstanding cat claws be put to the test by Catwoman? Since Heath Ledger’s Joker was hauledoffto the insane asylum rather than killed, will the role be recast? If so, is Daniel Day-Lewis interested? How about Johnny Depp as the Riddler? The devotion is a testament to Nolan’s singular vision of the Batman universe—and to how important it is to Warner Bros. that studio chief Alan Horn sign Nolan for a third go-round. And perhaps Jolie.

Producer: Judd Apatow

May be Apatow should stick to warm-weather releases. The sensei of Hollywood’s reigning comedy dojo took a few licks when his December and March producing efforts, ‘WalkHard’ and ‘Drillbit Taylor,’ failed to resonate. But then came April’s ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ July’s ‘Step Brothers’ and this month’s ‘Pineapple Express. ’When combined with June’s ‘You Don’t Mess With theZohan’ (which Apatowco-wrote with Adam Sandler), his2008 hits have grossed more than $330million domestically.

Executives: David Maisel & Kevin Feige

Iron Man is a B-list superhero. Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t open amovie. Jon Favreau can’t direct the big action sequences. The heads of Marvel Studios heard those criticisms a thousand times before the May 2 release of the company’s first self-produced effort. But the naysayers disappeared faster than a cocktail in Tony Stark’s hand. “‘Iron Man’s’ success threw the gauntlet down—that Marvel is not just an IP (intellectual property) holder, but could do it on its own,” says Feige, who championed the project andwas upped to president the week after the movie opened. Marvel’s June follow-up, ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ grossed $134.4 million domestically, barely eclipsing 2003’s poorly received Ang Lee version.

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