"Harry Potter" Vanquishes Everyone with $50.3M Box-Office 

Even Rapunzel couldn't break "Harry Potter's" magical box-office spell. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" remained the No. 1 movie in America with $50.3 million over Thanksgiving weekend.

Disney's "Tangled" came in very close with $49.1 million.

So far, "Harry Potter" has raised its total to $220.4 million in just 10 days with a worldwide total of $609.6 million.

Meanwhile, "Tangled" featuring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi raised its five-day total to $69 million since opening Thanksgiving eve.

While "Tangled" did not beat "Harry Potter," the film exceeded industry expectations delivering the second-biggest Thanksgiving debut ever just behind "Toy Story 2" which opened with $57.4 million.

Sitting mightily at No. 3 is DreamWorks Animation's "Megamind" with $12.9 million beating new films such as "Burlesque," "Faster," and "Love & Other Drugs."

Christina Aguilera and Cher made a so-so debut with "Burlesque" landing at No. 4 with $11.8 million, and a $17.2 million five-day total.

The dramedy "Love & Other Drugs" starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway debuted at No. 6 with $9.9 million with a five-day total of $14 million since opening Wednesday.

Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton must settle for No. 7 with "Faster" selling $8.7 million in box-office tickets, and $12.2 million since its Wednesday opening.

Meanwhile, "The King's Speech" featuring the much-talked about Colin Firth performance as British monarch George VI, debuted with $349,791 in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles! Per theater average? That's about $87,448 compared to "Tangled's" $13,628 per theater.

Here's the estimated Top 10 Box-Office Films for weekend of Nov. 26:

1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," $50.3 million.

2. "Tangled," $49.1 million.

3. "Megamind," $12.9 million.

4. "Burlesque," $11.8 million.

5. "Unstoppable," $11.75 million.

6. "Love & Other Drugs," $9.9 million.

7. "Faster," $8.7 million.

8. "Due Date," $7.3 million.

9. "The Next Three Days," $4.8 million.

10. "Morning Glory," $4 million.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! And Thank You For Everything! Now, You Can Eat Me, Your Turkey! 

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Palm Springs -- Hollywood of the Desert, Playground of the Stars! Take a Look at my Insightful but Fun Piece About the City I Call Home! 

Everytime I interview a celebrity and I tell them where I'm from, their eyes grow bigger and they all almost unanimously say "Palm Springs? I love Palm Springs."

Sure, we've heard about Palm Springs and its Hollywood connection. If you've been to the desert, you've seen the names of celebrities (Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Kirk Douglas, Gene Autry to name a few) used as street signs.

And you've also heard of the Palm Springs International Film Festival attended annually by the best of Hollywood.

But our Hollywood connection did not simply begin and end with street signs and festivals. For that, we have to go back in time.

Check out my fun but insightful piece on why Palm Springs is known as Hollywood of the Desert. Let me take you on a journey in and around Coachella Valley and discover the Playground of the Stars:

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Busy Thanksgiving Weekend at the Movies! From "Burlesque," to "Faster" to "Tangled," See My Pick of the Week! 

It will be a busy weekend at the movies this Thanksgiving -- Christina Aguilera's "Burlesque" gets "Tangled" up with Dwayne Johnson's "Faster." But there's only one pick of the week:


The film is a fairy tale set in the world of risqué business. Cher is Tess, a retired dancer and owner of the Burlesque Lounge. She's broke, both financially and creatively. But all that is about to change with the dramatic entrance of Ali (Christina Aguilera), a small-town girl from Iowa who has big dreams and a much bigger voice. Vavoom!

Careful not to be a musical version of Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls," writer-director Steve Antin weaves a predictable and safe storyline with buoyant energy. Cher and Aguilera command the screen, and for some folks, that's a good enough reason to watch this movie. You'll have a gay, old time! :25k


Dwayne Johnson is an ex-con out for revenge and Billy Bob Thornton is a veteran cop. Their paths will cross when the ex-con decides to avenge his brother's death after a failed heist.

Director George Tillman Jr. directs "Faster" in a hyper-kinetic way and literally takes the title to heart. This is a shoot-em-up revenge movie that doesn't elevate the genre although it's watchable and entertaining, thanks to Johnson's decision to return to action. Burn your silly tutus in "Tooth Fairy" Dwayne! :25k

Which leads me to my pick of the week, and that will be...


(To watch my "Tangled" review, click here)

I was not impressed by “Tangled’s” marketing campaign. The trailer made the movie look horrible and second-rate. So to my surprise, “Tangled” is one of the best animated movies of the year.

Directors Byron Howard and Nathan Greno succeeded in updating the beloved fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Within the movie’s first 10 minutes, we are catapulted into the magical world of Rapunzel. I suggest to arrive early or you will miss the film’s mythology.

Helping tell the story of Rapunzel is Mandy Moore in arguably the best role of her movie career. She lets her hair down as the voice of our heroine, a princess who’s been kidnapped from the palace when she was just a baby.

The culprit is Mother Gothel, voiced by Broadway star, Donna Murphy. She wants to stay young forever and the source of her fountain of youth is Rapunzel’s long, golden hair.

Locked in the tower and never allowed to leave, Rapunzel’s quest is to see the outside world for her 18th birthday. Every year on Rapunzel’s birthday, the kingdom has a festival of lights in remembrance of their lost princess. Rapunzel wants to see the floating light up close.

Her wish may soon be granted upon the arrival of the dashing bandit, Flynn Rider, voiced by “Chuck’s” Zachary Levi. Flynn stumbles upon the tower as he tries to escape the palace guards after a burglary. What happens next is a magical journey full of wonder and surprise.

“Tangled” is fittingly billed as the 50th Walt Disney Pictures animated feature film. It’s a beautiful movie and I suggest you watch it in 3-D. There are two key impressive scenes. First, when Flynn and Rapunzel are engulfed by water after escaping the guards.

The tsunami that swallowed Flynn and Rapunzel is so real and life-like even though computer-generated animation of water is hard to do. Another great visual scene from the movie is the presentation of the floating lights. Surrounded by thousands of flickering lights, Flynn and Rapunzel get carried away with the enchantment.

All of the characters are well-drawn out. You will believe the chemistry between Rapunzel and Flynn, you will understand the dynamics between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel, and you will fall in love with the fun creatures.

The animals in “Tangled” do not talk but they’re visually communicative. There’s Rapunzel’s best friend, the chameleon Pascal, who changes skin colors to fit his emotion. But my favorite is Maximus, the head of the palace guard horse and Flynn’s nemesis.

The original music by Alan Menken helped move the story forward. There are many memorable production numbers, one of which involves thugs who really love showtunes.

I laughed, cried, and sang. “Tangled” is finer than frog’s hair and is the perfect movie to see this Thanksgiving weekend.


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A "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Movie Without Creator Joss Whedon? Read His Reply! 

The Buffyverse came to a halt with news that creator Joss Whedon would not be a part of the reboot. But if you're an avid Manny the Movie Guy reader, you know that back in May of last year, we posted a story pretty much saying that Whedon was not going to be involved (Check out "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" the Movie! But Wait, Creator Joss Whedon is NOT Involved!)

Back then we said:

The new "Buffy" film, however, would have no connection to the TV series, nor would it use popular supporting characters like Angel, Willow, Xander or Spike. Vertigo and Kuzui are looking to restart the story line without trampling on the beloved existing universe created by Whedon, putting the parties in a similar situation faced by Paramount, J.J. Abrams and his crew when relaunching "Star Trek."

Then we came across this press release confirming Whedon's non-involvement:

LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 11, 2010 – Atlas Entertainment announced today it is rebooting the beloved franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Warner Bros. Pictures. Atlas' Charles Roven and Steve Alexander will produce the feature film alongside Doug Davison and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (The Ring, How to Train Your Dragon, The Departed). Whit Anderson is writing the script.

Warner Bros. Pictures optioned the rights from creators Fran and Kaz Kuzui, and from Sandollar Productions (Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton), for Atlas and Vertigo to produce. Buffy the Vampire Slayer first appeared as a film in 1992, subsequently becoming a cult hit and spawning the wildly popular television series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, among many others.

"Whit approached us with an exciting idea about how to update Buffy," said Roven. "There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character's return to the big screen. We're thrilled to team up with Doug and Roy on a re-imagining of Buffy and the world she inhabits. Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but I can say while this is not your high school Buffy, she'll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be."

Honestly? As a Buffy fan? No matter how you slice and dice it, Whedon created the Buffyverse, so he should be the one to bring "Buffy" to the big screen. So what does Whedon think of the whole thing? In an email to Kristin Dos Santos of E! Online:

Kristin, I'm glad you asked for my thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, "Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER." Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, "I'll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!" Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain! Sincerely, Joss Whedon.

Aw, I love him more already! Should we start a petition to have Whedon make the "Buffy" movie we all know he could?

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