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Matt Damon News Column
Contagion opens at #1
  • Contagion was the top film at the US box office on its first weekend, earning $23.1 million - a report from the LA Times:

    The Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller about the global spread of a deadly pandemic opened to a solid $23.1 million, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. That sum was enough to knock out "Warrior," a mixed-martial-arts drama from the director of "Miracle" that has received excellent reviews but was sent to the mat with just $5.6 million.

    Contagion" played in 3,222 theaters this weekend — more than 1,000 more than each of the other three films in wide release. The pandemic flick appealed to females and males in equal measure, although an overwhelming 81% of the crowd was older than 25. The film, which stars A-list actors including Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, has gone over well with critics since premiering at the Venice Film Festival this month. But moviegoers who saw the film this weekend gave it a so-so average grade of "B-," according to market research firm CinemaScore.

    "Adult movies are really strong in the fall, and the only other adult movie out there this weekend was 'The Help,'" said Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., the studio that released the film. "This movie also has a lot of star power, but it's subject matter that makes everybody a little uneasy. The marketing brought that out and tapped into our own insecurities — we sit there and say, 'That's awful,' but we're interested in it."

    The picture was produced by Warner Bros. and Participant Media for about $60 million, meaning the movie is off to a decent start domestically. "Contagion" also opened in six small foreign markets this past weekend and collected $2.1 million there. The movie is ultimately poised to do respectable business overseas, where some of its stars —- such as French actress Marion Cotillard and Brit actor Jude Law — hail from.

  • A rare photo of Matt, Joaquin Phoenix and Ben and Casey Affleck is from moochingwarwidows.tumblr.com.

  • Screenwriter Scott Z Burns discussed working with Matt at Indiewire:

    Burns says Matt Damon is another great collaborator. (Let’s not forget the actor won an Oscar at the age of 25 for co-writing Goodwill Hunting.)

    “I think part of why it’s easy to work with Matthew is because he has written and so he’s got respect for the craft, I think he also knows that a movie isn’t a screenplay, and that you can use the page as a point of departure, if the moment suggests that it’s wise to depart, and there are times where we’ll talk in the morning and we’ll try and come up with a better idea then what I wrote, which makes sense to me because when you’re there in the moment, and you’re confronted with the location, and the work you did the day before, and there are new ideas. So… having some sort of misplaced orthodoxy about how you treat the screenplay can be a problem. On the other hand there are times where I feel really good, and he’ll say no, you know what, what you wrote is great and I’m going to do it exactly the way you wrote it. Those days feel really great when they happen.”

  • Matt left NY late on Sunday to continue filming Elysium in Vancouver. Update: Photos of Matt and Lucy in NY on Sunday are at PopSugar.
  • 23 comments or Leave a comment
    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: September 12th, 2011 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 12th, 2011 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks. Interesting that it's based on the fake collage photo from USA Today - they could have tried a little harder for an actual group shoot.

    A Twitter post a few days ago claimed the trailer would be available very shortly.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
    ET showed the trailer to we bought a zoo tonight. It looks like it's going to be a cute family movie for the holidays. Is scarlet johansenn ( however you spell it) suppose to be a love interest? In the trailer Matt's character is telling her she's pretty.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 13th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)

    We bought a zoo

    Thanks for the notice - it should be online shortly. Scarlett's a 'maybe at the end of the movie' love interest, but I don't think they are meant to have a relationship in the film.

    That trailer is pretty sweet but corny. I hope it doesn't trip over to slapstick to amuse kids (as suggested by a few of the early reviews). But it ensure Matt's theme of 2011 is 'a single parent protecting his children against obstacles.' Wonder if it will be compared all season with Clooney's 'The Descendants', as suggested by one review.

    Edited at 2011-09-13 09:21 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 12th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Finally was able to see Contagion this afternoon. Liked it, didn't love it. Matt was a standout, with a couple of tremendously affecting moments, but everyone was good, with one exception. Marion Cotillard was flat and uninteresting. Granted she didn't have many scenes but that was true of the rest of the actors too, and they were still able to create compelling characters. Maybe she just need more takes to really deliver. Soderbergh doesn't seem the type to coddle anybody.

    It was beautifully shot, but one of the chief downsides to me was that the techno soundtrack was overbearing.

    I give it a 'B'.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 12th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Contagion

    Thanks for the reviews. Don't get why they would have a techno soundtrack, which would seem quite out of place.

    Still don't know when it's opening here - either October or December.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 12th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


    just got home from seeing contagion. l enjoyed it but then l enjoy any movie that matt does ,good or bad.did a good job of showing how people act when something bad happens .

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 13th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)


    Movieline has a collected of celeb related tweets about Contagion:


    Joel McHale also mentioned he was seeing the movie.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Josh Horowitz

    Another Horowitz 'After Hours' interview with Matt and other cast members. As always, odd, but at least it's not predictable and boring.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 13th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Josh Horowitz

    And can't be seen by people outside the US.

    Where's the Zoo trailer? Usually trailers previewed on ET are available immediately afterwards or the next day?

    Edited at 2011-09-13 11:53 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Josh Horowitz

    Ah, sorry about that. On the red carpet in NY Josh asked Matt his "end of days" questions. The first was, if you had to spend all of eternity with one member of the cast of 'Fast & Furious' who would it be? Matt picked Eva Mendez (no suprise). The other was, if you only had access to the dvds of Ben Affleck which would you masterbate to first? Matt laughed, was grossed out and passed. When asked which of his movies he would masterbate to, he said "None".

    The episode of ET that supposedly showed the Zoo trailer was pre-empted in my area by tennis. I haven't seen anything about the trailer at all. If it was on ET it's news to me.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 14th, 2011 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Josh Horowitz

    Thanks for the MTV summary - I don't know why all MTV stories are suddenly unavailable to people outside the US. And Eva's not a surprise - they used to be very close and were rumored to have dated.

    Excerpts from the Zoo trailer were definitely on ET. It's an interesting look at Matt as a suburban single father, and the trailer is quite warm with a touch of slapstick. Lots of shots of zoo animals doing cute stuff, mixed with cute kids and quirky characters. It's trying to hit the warm and furry demographic, but there's such a simple arc I don't know how they can build any suspense (troubled sad family buy zoo but are eventually made happy by the zoo).

    Edited at 2011-09-14 07:33 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Zoo trailer

    I can't find the excerpts from Zoo anywhere, including the ET website. And nobody's mentioned it in the press. Odd.

    And I'm with you - I think the superficial similarities to Clooney's movie may undermine Matt's. Nobody can work the press like Clooney, and they're sure to fawn over him. He's a half-step from God in their opinion.
    fogfrog From: fogfrog Date: September 14th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Josh Horowitz

    That's strange you can't play the MTV video, I have no problem with it at all (and I am in Europe).

    I'm not sure if this is new or not (I just remember it was reported that Matt asked for some zombies):

    Matt Damon was attacked by a zombie after begging director Steven Soderbergh and writer SCOTT BURNS to include a zombie scene in new movie Contagion.

    "Every day, Matt would come to Steven and I and say, 'Why don't we put zombies in the movie?' So one day we did" said Burns speaking to the New York Post. The writer later added that they surprised the Hollywood star by dressing up an actor as a zombie and attacking him on set and now he has a video of the prank in a secret location, adding "it'll make its way on the Internet, I'm sure ... Someday, that little piece of film will come out."

    fogfrog From: fogfrog Date: September 14th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

    We Bought a Zoo

    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: We Bought a Zoo

    I'm glad trailer was released. I guess I lucked out catching it on ET. I know Matt wanted to work with Cameron Crowe but this is something his kids can see him in. I'm not getting the Oscar talk though. Doesn't seem like a contender.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 14th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: We Bought a Zoo

    Agreed that it's not an awards contender. Just a sweet family film that hopefully makes some money and allows Crowe to make edgier films from now on.

    And as somebody on a message board wrote - this is the last of Matt's woollen sweater films before he moves on to Liberace and Elysium.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 15th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: We Bought a Zoo

    Is matt back in NYC? There was a supposed sighting via twitter. If so that was quick. I'm not getting this film schedule he's got but probably works in terms of being with the family.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 15th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: We Bought a Zoo

    Don't know. Hard to tell when there are no details available about the filming. But false sightings abound (there are current rumors that he's at the rugby in New Zealand). False.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
    theres like theres two lucys out there . one on the red carpets and the ones taken on sunday in n.y. they look so different.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 15th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
    With the glaring exception of the silly line, 'You don't need special knowledge to run a zoo' I'm really liking the trailer. I always enjoy seeing Matt be charming, and he's obviously charming as all get-out in this movie.

    According to my DVR, Soderbergh will be on the Charlie Rose Show tonight.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 15th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
    Nobody's going to like that line but it's actually true. Ben Mee had no experience when he took over the zoo, and just employed experts to assist.

    At least we'll get Matt smiling in this movie.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 3rd, 2012 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)

    new here

    We may disagree, but I think that tortilla wrap with the cherry preserves and the choc chips sounds plenty of tasty! (Maybe my taste buds never grew up, but that's my own issue )

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    23 comments or Leave a comment