Brian Grazer Replaces Brett Ratner as Oscars Producer

Earlier today, Eddie Murphy dropped out of his Oscar-hosting job after his Tower Heist director Brett Ratner resigned from his Oscar-producing gig. But if the Academy has things their way, Murphy may return yet. Producer Brian Grazer has been tapped to replace Ratner as the new Oscar producer, and apparently his first job will be to get Murphy back. More after the jump.

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Entertainment news over the past week has been dominated by one facepalm-worthy Brett Ratner remark after another, finally resulting in his stepping down from his Oscar-producing gig. But there’s no need to worry — everyone’s favorite walking PR blunder is doing just fine, with one ’80s remake in the works and another one about to hit theaters after a long delay.

In the midst of that Howard Stern interview during which he bragged about sleeping with a young Lindsay Lohan, Ratner also revealed his plans to remake the 1982 teen sex comedy The Last American Virgin. Meanwhile, the Ratner-produced Mother’s Day, a remake of the 1980 Troma film, will finally be getting a North American release next year. More after the jump.

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Eddie Murphy Quits as Oscar Host

Here’s what will hopefully be the last strain of the Oscar fallout from Brett Ratner‘s comments over the past week: Eddie Murphy has quit as host of the 84th Academy Awards. Brett Ratner called Murphy his first and only choice to host, and there was something appealing about the idea of blatant showman Ratner working with Murphy for the Oscars. I think some of us had images of Murphy emerging from a comedy cocoon that enshrouded him around the time of Beverly Hills Cop II. When Ratner quit as Oscar producer yesterday evening, we didn’t know if Murphy would go with him.

Evidently Murphy didn’t want to do the show without Ratner, so he’s out. A statement from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak is below. Read More »

Brett Ratner Steps Down as Producer of Oscar Telecast

When we ran a review of Brett Ratner‘s Tower Heist at the end of last week, a section of the comments that followed were dominated by discussion of Ratner’s perceived character, and the fact that many /Film staffers aren’t exactly fond of the guy. Some readers even expressed sympathy for the fact that Ratner gets so little love. This sort of conversation seems to crop up every time Ratner is in the news, whether he is making headlines for a film project, or for something more personal.

Lately the headlines have been very personal, and they point to stories that illustrate with pristine clarity why Ratner gets little love. Over the past week Ratner’s public comments have included some pathetic douchebag bravado — which Ratner later recanted and even admitted was false — as well as a statement that could be his epitaph: “rehearsing is for fags.”

That statement called into question Ratner’s suitability as producer of the Oscars, as that job makes him a de facto ambassador from Hollywood to the rest of the world. Some called for Ratner to be replaced as Oscar telecast producer, despite his apology for the rehearsal comment.. (Andrew O’Heir published an impassioned piece at Salon just hours ago calling for Ratner’s dismissal.)

Now Ratner is stepping down as Oscar producer — or being allowed to say that he is stepping down. Whether Eddie Murphy, his high profile choice to host, will remain on board, is not yet clear. Read More »

What do you call a movie that’s not NOT funny and not NOT entertaining? Tower Heist sounds right. The latest film from director Brett Ratner has some fun moments to keep the audience engaged but never puts the claws in. It never grabs you. Never makes you laugh until you cry or pump your fist with excitement. It’s a by the numbers crime comedy that lives and dies with its setting, its actors and a few choice moments. Most of the time it’s mindless and, if that’s your kind of thing, you may love it. But if you demand a movie that demands something of its audience, Tower Heist will be sorely disappointing. Read More »

Last week, Universal Pictures revealed that it would be releasing the Brett Ratner comedy Tower Heist on VOD for $59.99 just three weeks after its November 4 opening in Atlanta and Portland, Oregon. The move immediately sparked outcry from exhibitors across the country — Cinemark, the U.S.’s third-largest theater chain, quickly announced that it would not be showing Tower Heist in any of its 3,800 theaters, and several smaller chains including Galaxy Theatres, Regency Theatres, and Emagine Theatres followed suit this week.

Now it seems the exhibitors have won the standoff, as Universal has agreed to drop the VOD experiment. More details after the jump.

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Universal had to know that exhibitors would show some strong resistance to the studio’s plan to release Brett Ratner‘s film Tower Heist On Demand only three weeks after it bows in theaters. That’s even with the VOD plan going into effect in only two markets (Atlanta and Portland, OR) and for the family-unfriendly price of $59.99.

The response of one theater chain has been intense, and more than a little bit knee-jerk. Cinemark, the third-largest theatrical chain in the US, says it will not program Tower Heist in any of its 300 theaters if Universal goes forward with the early premium VOD plan. Read More »

The first trailer released for Brett Ratner‘s new film Tower Heist was very obviously a trailer for a Ratner film, complete with pumping music, flying shots of the tower in which the action takes place, and a jokey introduction to the story and cast. (Which features Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda.)

This second trailer is much more focused on the crazy stuff the cast gets up to as they try to rob a Wall St. power broker who has defrauded the staff of his high-rise building. Check out the wacky action — which is also very recognizably Ratner — after the break. Read More »

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