What is an ensemble cast? How many actors constitute one? There aren’t any guidelines that determine what qualifies as a true ensemble, but if anyone can offer some insight it would be Woody Allen, who has been getting great groups of actors together for decades now. From Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters to Melinda and Melinda and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, he’s always had a keen eye for casting and the stars continue to line up to work with the iconic auteur.
With the home entertainment release of his latest, fore mentioned film at hand, I thought it’d be apt to honor some of the coolest ensemble casts ever assembled. Keep in mind: this isn’t a list of the best films featuring an ensemble cast. It’s about the best rosters of talent roped in for a single production.
This under-appreciated Tony Scott action spectacle was polarizing to audiences because of its ultra-violent approach, particularly toward women. But Patricia Arquette proved herself to be one tough chick, able to take a beating a give it back in equal measure. Together with her beau-to-be Christian Slater, she embarks on an odyssey to free herself from pimp Gary Oldman and, later, his criminal overlord Christopher Walken, all while L.A. detectives Tom Sizemore and Chris Penn are hot on the trail of drugs and blood. With bonus appearances by Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport and more, True Romance is a twisted web of cameos and special roles filled by some of the coolest actors of the time.
The Thin Red Line
WWII films have a long history of stellar casts comprised of legions of screen legends. This 1998 genre entry continues that grand tradition with enough A-listers to make five separate movies. George Clooney, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Adrien Brody, Miranda Otto, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, Nick Stahl, Elias Koteas and Jim Caviezel all appear in the prestigious picture at one point or another – a logistic achievement in and of itself.
This sweet rom-com gets me every time. Not just because of the cheerful dialogue and warm and fuzzy relationships, but also because of the charming cast of characters played by Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Elizabeth, Andrew Lincoln, Denise Richards and the adorable Thomas Sangster. Together, there are around eight revolving, relatable romances in the film, but we wouldn’t have cared about any of them if not for the lovable cast.
In telling this sprawling tale about the intersecting lives of a handful of Angelenos, director Paul Haggis needed an international cast to represent the diverse population of the City of Angels. He got it with Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Esposito, Shaun Toub, Daniel Dae Kim, Matt Dillon, Loretta Devine, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Keith David, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Pena, Tony Danza and Thandie Newton. Though Dillon was the only actor recognized by the Academy at awards time, the triumph of the film belongs to its eclectic cast.
The Magnificent Seven
Akira Kurasawa’s epic Seven Samurai was practically begging for a Hollywood adaptation when it was released in 1954. By 1960, director John Sturges had made it a reality with a pack of screen idols including the dashing Yul Brynner, the inimitable Eli Wallach, the ultra-cool Steve McQueen, the bad-ass Charles Bronson, the slick Robert Vaughn, the cool James Coburn and the “newbie” Horst Buchholz. The septuplet of stars had a great deal of chemistry that made their on-screen antics all the more enjoyable to watch, and fifty years later their work on this classic film has become the stuff of movie mythology.
The star power packed into these popular motion pictures is astonishing. With Hollywood heavyweights like George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt leading an army of talent - young and old - including Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck and Julia Roberts, there's no shortage of charisma throughout the film. You may be wondering why I chose Oceans Twelve over the 2001 remake of the 1960 original; it's because this hit heist pic also features the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Albert Finney, Robbie Coltrane, Jared Harris, Vincent Cassel and Bruce Willis in appearances big and small. Not too shabby for a sequel...
Forget the awful 2008 remake. I implore you to give the original a chance. It’s a virtual who’s who of top Hollywood talent of the era. The premise is simple by today’s standards, but in 1939 its empowering themes were ahead of its time. Some of best actresses to ever grace the silver screen, including Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Lucile Watson and Marjorie Main delivered the message. All of the above are Oscar winners or nominees, making this cast of female performers one of the most celebrated of all time.
I’m not sure if Francis Ford Coppola knew what he was onto when he picked his rag-tag group of actors for this kick-ass 1983 film. After all, most of the actors were relatively unknown and untested at the time (save for C. Thomas Howell, who had just starred in Steven Spielberg's E.T.), but that quickly changed in the years following its release. Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane and Tom Cruise all appeared in the acclaimed teen drama, leaving behind one hell of a legacy.
He passed away at Charing Cross Hospital in London on Sunday (25Apr10), according to his son David. The cause of death was not available as WENN went to press.
The novelist emerged in the 1950s as one of the 'Angry Young Men' of British fiction for his dramas reflecting life in the mid 20th century.
Sillitoe's breakthrough novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, became a film starring Albert Finney. Another book, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, was also made into a film featuring Tom Courtenay.
Sultry culinary genius Isabella (Penélope Cruz) leads an idyllic life running a seaside restaurant in Brazil with her husband Toninho (Murilo Benício) - until she finds Toninho in bed with another woman that is. Heartbroken she heads off to San Francisco and immediately finds work as -- what else? -- the host of a TV cooking show. Screwball comedy complications ensue as a prayer to a Brazilian goddess goes awry Isabella's show becomes a hit and a penitent Toninho arrives to try and win his wife back.
Perma-pouting Spanish dish Cruz ("All About My Mother") is a solid actress with an excess of on-screen charisma but she isn't particularly well served by her first Hollywood starring vehicle. Hampered by their thick accents she and hunky Brazilian co-star Benício ("Orfeu") fight their way through hokey exchanges that have no business being in English anyway. (The whole film would have gone down more smoothly in Brazil's romantic tongue Portuguese.) Of the supporting players Harold Perrineau ("The Best Man") generates the most sparks putting a surprisingly fresh spin on one of the more tired modern screen clichés: the strapping black drag queen.
Venezuelan-born helmer Fina Torres ("Celestial Clockwork") adopts the candy-shop approach to commercial storytelling packing her film with enough sexy stars bright South American colors and tangy bossa nova tunes to distract viewers from the lame predictability of Vera Blasi's script. Pinching ingredients from the Mexican food-and-sex smash "Like Water For Chocolate " the filmmakers cobble together a passable romantic fantasy in the Latin American magical-realist tradition. Too bad most of the comedy falls flatter than a Brazilian crèpe.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2000 -- The only loud noise at this weekend's box office was Dimension Films' "Scream 3," opening to a blockbuster estimated $35.20 million.
"Scream 3" accounted for about 42% of the ticket sales for key films over the weekend, living up to industry expectations reported by Hollywood.com on Friday. With its first-choice tracking score of 31% going into the weekend, the Wes Craven film was seen as likely to open to at least $30 million.
Dimension, Miramax's genre label, launched "Scream 3" to an estimated $35.20 million at 3,467 theaters ($10,152 per theater). The film's theater count set a new record for wide release, topping last summer's 3,342 theaters for Warner Bros.' "Wild Wild West." Dimension said there were 5,522 prints of the film in the marketplace.
An indication of how little business everything else in the marketplace did is that "Scream 3's" gross was about equal to the combined gross for the next 11 films on the chart.
"This is the biggest opening for Miramax and/or Dimension in the history of the company," Miramax Senior Vice President, Marketing, David Kaminow said Sunday morning. "It's the biggest February opening ever, and it actually looks like the biggest opening for any movie between January through April."
The previous record-holder was Universal's Jim Carrey starrer 'Liar Liar' at $31.4 million back in March 1997.
Who went to see the "Scream 3"?
"In terms of audience demo, it's our core 18-24," Kaminow said. "But what's interesting is the slight demographic shift in terms of the people who were 18-24 when the first movie came out four years ago (and) have followed us on the path, so we have a segment (of the audience) that's also a little higher in the 25-29 bracket than we've seen previously.
"It indicates to us that the audience has grown as the movie's grown."
Asked where it could wind up in terms of its domestic theatrical gross, Kaminow replied, "The first two did (over) $100 million. It would be wonderful if it did. This is a great start, and we'll see what happens."
"Scream 3's" per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide or limited release last weekend.
Directed by Wes Craven, "Scream 3" was produced by Cathy Konrad, Kevin Williamson and Marianne Maddalena. Its screenplay by Ehren Kruger is based on characters created by Williamson. It was executive produced by Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Cary Granat and Andrew Rona.
The film reunites Craven with David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox Arquette and Liev Schreiber. Also starring are Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Parker Posey, Deon Richmond, Kelly Rutherford and Patrick Warburton.
"Scream 2" opened in first place the weekend of Dec. 12-14, 1997, to $32.9 million at 2,663 theatres ($12,354 per theater). Its second weekend gross was $13.9 million, down 58%. It went on to gross about $101.3 million in domestic theaters.
The first "Scream" opened in fourth place the weekend of Dec. 20-22, 1996, to $6.4 million at 1,413 theaters ($4,497 per theater). It wound up grossing about $103 million in domestic theaters.
It was a long way down to second place, where Universal's R-rated, critically acclaimed Oscar contender "The Hurricane" was holding well, up one notch in its sixth week with a solid estimated $4.91 million (-14%) at 2,148 theaters (+13 theatres, $2,285 per theater). Its total is approximately $37.5 million.
Directed by Norman Jewison, it stars Denzel Washington as wrongly imprisoned boxing champion Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
"The word of mouth is exceptional on this film," Universal Distribution President Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "We were No. 3 for two weekends. Now we're No. 2.
"Granted, it's a soft marketplace except for one film, but the word of mouth does that with a picture. It will linger and linger around through the Academy Awards season."
Columbia's PG-rated family comedy "Stuart Little" finished third, up one peg in its eighth week, continuing to hold strongly with an OK estimated $4.80 million (unchanged) at 2,702 theaters (-339 theaters, $1,776 per theater). Its total is approximately $128.7 million, heading for $140 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Rob Minkoff, it stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathan Lipnicki.
"I'd say at least $140 million," Sony Pictures Releasing President Jeff Blake said Sunday morning, when asked where the film would wind up in domestic theaters. "For the first time, we're going to have some company in the kids' market next Friday (with BV/Disney's animated "The Tigger Movie" and Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' PG-rated live action Chevy Chase comedy "Snow Day"), so it will be interesting to see how we hold up.
"Starting out on Dec. 17, at the point when 'Toy Story 2' was still strong, we managed to beat them. We sort of had our own way with the kids between Dec. 17 and today. It will be interesting to see what happens when (the two new family-appeal films arrive Friday). I think, probably, what will happen is they'll do very well, but we'll continue to play out our run. I can't see it being any less than $140 million -- maybe into the $140 millions. A lovely success story."
The film is also looking strong on the international front.
"The best news for us is every market we've opened internationally has been sensational," Blake said. "So we really are hoping to even do better internationally. The real number on this one will probably be about $300 million worldwide, which is very exciting."
New Line's R-rated urban-appeal hit comedy sequel "Next Friday" fell two rungs to fourth place in its fourth week with a still decent estimated $4.28 million (-25%) at 1,420 theaters (+85 theaters, $3,011 per theater). Its total is approximately $45.5 million.
Directed by Steve Carr, it was written by, stars and was produced by Ice Cube.
There was a close race for fifth place between Destination Films' R-rated psychological thriller "Eye Of the Beholder" and Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Entertainment's R-rated death-row drama "The Green Mile."
As was the case last week when "Eye" opened, Destination did not report an estimated gross by mid-morning Sunday, making it difficult to calculate which film would take fifth place. Other studios estimated Destination's gross at $3.89 million to $4.1 million.
"Eye," which placed first last week, would need about $4.1 million to finish in fifth place in its second week. That would represent a very discouraging drop of about 30% at 1,751 theaters (theater count unchanged, $2,342 per theater). Its total is approximately $11.9 million.
Directed by Stephan Elliott, it stars Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd. Destination reportedly picked up the independently made film for domestic release for about $4 million.
In contrast, "The Green Mile," which was fifth last week, is a blockbuster success in its ninth week, holding very well with an estimated $4.02 million (unchanged) at 2,335 theaters (-36 theaters, $1,719 per theater). Its total is approximately $120.4 million, heading for $140 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Frank Darabont, it stars Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.
"We've been tracking it from day one against 'A Few Good Men,'" Warner Bros. Distribution President Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "'A Few Good Men' after this exact weekend (in its run) had $119.8 million. They ended up at $141 million. We're definitely getting close (in terms of projected domestic theatrical total) to $140 million now.
"I raised my estimate last week to $136 million. I'm going to pop it again to about $140 million. It has great legs. You see what happens to it every week."
DreamWorks' PG-rated sci-fi fantasy comedy "Galaxy Quest" continued in seventh place in its seventh week, holding nicely with an estimated $3.30 million (-3%) at 1,939 theaters (-270 theaters, $1,702 per theater). Its total is approximately $62.9 million, heading for $70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Dean Parisot, it stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman.
Miramax's PG-13-rated teen-appeal romantic comedy "Down To You" fell two pegs to eighth place in its third week with a dull estimated $2.90 million (-28%) at 2,003 theaters (+26 theaters, $1,447 per theater). Its total is approximately $16.8 million.
Written and directed by Kris Isacsson, it stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles.
Columbia's R-rated drama "Girl, Interrupted" slipped one post to ninth in its seventh week with a slower estimated $2.60 million (-20%) at 1,863 theaters (-72 theaters, $1,396 per theater). Its total is approximately $25 million.
Directed by James Mangold, "Girl" stars Winona Ryder and recent Golden Globe winner Angelina Jolie.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Paramount's R-rated drama "The Talented Mr. Ripley," down one peg in its seventh week with a calm estimated $2.50 million (-10%) at 1,819 theaters (-323 theaters, $1,350 per theater). Its total is approximately $75.6 million, heading for about $80 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Anthony Minghella, it stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Cate Blanchett.
Last weekend also saw the arrival of Buena Vista/Hollywood's R-rated black comedy adventure "Gun Shy," placing 22nd with a discouraging estimated $0.70 million at 296 theaters ($2,367 per theater).
Written and directed by Eric Blakeney, it stars Liam Neeson, Oliver Platt and Sandra Bullock.
Fine Line Features' R-rated suspense/dark comedy "Simpatico" kicked off in 28th place to a soft estimated $0.43 million at 256 theatres ($1,680 per theater).
Based on a play by Sam Shepard, it was directed by Matthew Warchus and stars Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Sharon Stone, Catherine Keener and Albert Finney.
The PG-13 boxing drama "Knockout," a CEO release, arrived in 34th place and was knocked flat on its face with an estimated $0.072 million at 110 theaters ($655 per theater).
Directed by Lorenzo Doumani, it stars Sophia-Adella Hernandez.
Last weekend saw no national sneak previews.
On the expansion front, last weekend saw USA Films R-rated drama and critics' darling "Topsy-Turvy" go wider in its eighth week, placing 21st with a quiet estimated $0.69 million at 130 theaters (+59 theaters, $5,285 per theater). Its total is approximately $2.3 million.
Written and directed by Mike Leigh, it stars Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner.
USA Films' reissue of the PG-rated suspense drama "Rear Window" expanded in its third week, placing 36th with an OK estimated $0.063 million at 14 theaters (+11 theaters, $4,475 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.2 million.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it stars James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Robert Harris and James Katz restored the 1954 film classic.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend - took in approximately $85.28 million, up about 13.21% from $75.33 million for the comparable weekend last year.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 40.85% compared with the previous weekend, when key films grossed $60.55 million.
Last year, Paramount's opening week of "Payback" was first with $21.22 million at 2,720 theaters ($7,802 per theater), and Miramax's second week of "She's All That" was second with $11.65 million at 2,629 theaters ($4,447 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $32.9 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $40.1 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES
Based on business by key films, the weekend's top six distributors were the following:
Miramax (Miramax, Dimension) was first with three films ("Scream 3," "Down to You" and "The Cider House Rules") grossing an estimated $40.10 million or 47% of the market.
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia, TriStar) was second with three films ("Stuart Little," "Girl, Interrupted" and "The End Of the Affair") grossing an estimated $8.50 million or 10% of the market.
Universal was third with three films ("Isn't She Great," "Snow Falling on Cedars" and "The Hurricane") grossing an estimated $6.24 million or 7.3% of the market.
Buena Vista (Touchstone and Disney) was fourth with five films ("Play it to the Bone," "Toy Story 2," "Fantasia 2000," "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" and "Bicentennial Man") grossing an estimated $5.94 million or 7% of the market.
New Line was fifth with two films ("Next Friday" and "Magnolia") grossing an estimated $5.55 million or 6.5% of the market.
Warner Bros. was sixth with two films ("The Green Mile" and "Any Given Sunday") grossing an estimated $5 million or 5.9% of the market.
(11) "Toy Story 2"/BV/Disney: Theaters: 1,618 (-178) Gross: $2.20 million (-6%) Average per theater: $1,360 Total: $237 million
(12) "The Cider House Rules"/Miramax: Theaters: 834 (-9) Gross: $2 million (+14%) Average per theater: $2,398 Total: $20.7 million
(13) "Fantasia 2000"/BV/Disney: Theatres: 54 (0) (all IMAX in U.S.) Gross: $1.70 million (-8%) Average per theater: $31,481 Total: $24 million (worldwide)
(14) "Angela's Ashes"/Paramount: Theaters: 614 (+3) Gross: $1.55 million (-15%) Average per theater: $2,524 Total: $8.6 million
(15) "Magnolia"/New Line: Theaters: 829 (-257) Gross: $1.27 million (-20%) Average per theater: $1,535 Total: $19.3 million
(16) "The End of the Affair" Theaters: 681 (-7) Gross: $1.10 million (-6%) Average per theater: $1,615 Total: $8.5 million
(17) "Any Given Sunday"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,557 (-455) Gross: $0.99 million (-31%) Average per theater: $633 Total: $73.8 million
(18) "Play it to the Bone/BV: Theaters: 1,249 (-339) Gross: $0.76 million (-55%) Average per theater: $610 Total: $7.7 million
(19) "Bicentennial Man"/BV: Theaters: 861 (-341) Gross: $0.75 million (-24%) Average per theater: $870 Total: $56.7 million
(20) "Snow Falling On Cedars"/Universal: Theaters: 800 (-200) Gross: $0.71 million (-21%) Average per theater: $890 Total: $12.8 million
(21) "Topsy-Turvy"/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(22) GUN SHY/BV/Hollywood: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(23) "Supernova"/MGM: Theaters: 1,135 (-936) Gross: $0.66 million (-46%) Average per theater: $585 Total: $13.3 million (24) "Isn't She Great"/Universal: Theatres: 750 (0) Gross: $0.62 million (-55%) Average per theater: $820 Total: $2.4 million
(25) "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"/BV: Theaters: 739 (-404) Gross: $0.53 million (-40%) Average per theater: $710 Total: $63 million
(26) "The World Is Not Enough"/MGM: Theaters: 842 (-15) Gross: $0.52 million (-7%) Average per theater: $620 Total: $125.1 million
(27) "Anna and the King"/Fox: Theaters: 568 (-182) Gross: $0.48 million (-19%) Average per theater: $845 Total: $37.6 million
(28) "Simpatico"/Fine Line: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(29) "Being John Malkovich"/USA Films: Theaters: 207 (-26) Gross: $0.31 million (no change) Average per theater: $1,505 Total: $21.1 million
(30) "Man On the Moon"/Universal: Theaters: 481 (-143) Gross: $0.24 million (-31%) Average per theater: $505 Total: $34.2 million
(31) "The Bone Collector"/Universal: Theaters: 325 (-7) Gross: $0.15 million (-23%) Average per theater: $465 Total: $65.7 million
(32) "End of Days"/Universal: Theaters: 343 (+5) Gross: $0.15 million (-20%) Average per theat er: $440 Total: $66 million
(33) "Titus"/Fox Searchlight: Theaters: 17 (-1) Gross: $0.11 million (-20%) Average per theater: $6,653 Total: $0.8 million
(34) "My Dog Skip"/Warner Bros. Theatres: 30 (0) Gross: $0.11 million (-3%) Average per theater: $3,595 Total: $0.4 million
(35) "Knockout"/CEA: (see OTHER OPENINGS above) (
36) "Rear Window" /USA: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(37) "The Cup"/Fine Line: Theaters: 4 (0) Gross: $0.031 million (-13%) Average per theater: $7,673 Total: $0.083 million
(38) "The Big Tease"/Warner Bros. Theaters: 4 (0) Gross: $0.019 million (-35%) Average per theater: $4,723 Total: $0.059 million