On February 23, 2003, an op-ed article about director Roman Polanski’s U.S. fugitive status appeared in the Los Angeles Times. What was most remarkable about it was not the fact that it was written by Samantha Geimer, the now 45-year-old woman whose sexual encounter as a 13-year-old with the Polish-born filmmaker triggered 1977 rape charges and a high-profile Los Angeles indictment. No, it was the fact that Geimer, the perceived “victim” of Polanski’s actions, was making the case that his Oscar-nominated film The Pianist should be judged on its own merits. Two days later, Geimer followed up the article with an appearance on Larry King Live. “I got over it [the sexual encounter] a long time ago,” she told King. “I wasn’t prepared to carry a lot of bad feelings with me and further damage my life and continue the trauma of it.” Among those watching Geimer’s appearance on the program with attorney Lawrence Silver was documentary filmmaker Marina Zenovich, also now 45. That was ultimately the spark that led to Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which, after screening to acclaim at this year’s Sundance and Cannes film festivals, premieres tonight on HBO and later hits theaters courtesy of ThinkFilm. For the full feature interview with Zenovich, from FilmStew, click here.
Raj, Rerun, Dwayne and the gang are back one last time tomorrow when a complete series DVD set of 1970s sitcom classic What’s Happening! goes on sale at online and brick-and-mortar retailers. To check out a few scenes from the series, gratis, click here, here and here. Meanwhile, to buy the set via Amazon, click here.
There’s been a low-key martial arts vibe bubbling up in arthouse theaters over the past few weeks, what with David Mamet’s Redbelt and Danny McBride’s The Foot Fist Way each hitting theaters in the past month, and all it took to deliver mondo box office was a little animation. Powered by voice work from Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie,
Kung Fu Panda made an authoritative statement, grabbing the top weekend spot with an estimated $60 million in receipts. Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan slotted second, with an estimated $40 million.
Placing third, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull grossed another $22.8 million; the fourth film in the iconic period adventure franchise has now grossed $253 million domestically and another $267 million overseas. Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, pulled in another $21.3 million over the weekend, pushing its second-week cumulative total to just under $100 million. Horror thriller The Strangers,
meanwhile, added 11 screens and finished fifth for the weekend, tallying $9.3 million, good for $37.6 million overall, in its second week of release.
Rounding out the top 10 were Iron Man ($7.5 million, $288.9 overall); The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian ($5.5 million, $125.8 overall); Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz’s What Happens in Vegas ($3.4 million, $72.2 overall); Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Baby Mama ($779,000, $57.9 million overall); and Patrick Dempsey’s Made of Honor ($775,000, $44.7 million overall). In limited release, meanwhile, John Cusack’s sprawling satire War, Inc. added 21 screens and pulled in another $47,600, to pull its limited, three-week total to around $130,000. Writer-director Steve Conrad’s quietly funny The Promotion, meanwhile, opened on six screens, to $28,900.