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Road to Sundance: When Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg starred in 'Adventureland' -- VIDEO


Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious and Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River. Today, we look back at Adventureland, the 2009 comedy that featured a bunch of indie stars who were on the cusp of movie stardom.

To be fair, Kristen Stewart had just become a huge star when Adventureland pulled into Park City in 2009 — the first Twilight was playing in theaters — but she was still only 18 years old. Jesse Eisenberg was known best for indies like The Squid and the Whale and Rodger Dodger, while Ryan Reynolds’ name — after a decade of solid work — was just beginning to be in the mix for major studio blockbusters.

Together, they signed up with writer/director Greg Mottola, who was coming off the box-office success of Superbad, for this coming-of-age story about a recent college grad who reluctantly takes a summer job in 1987 at the local amusement park. Running the theme park is an odd couple played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, and the EW video interview below from 2009 is a fine time capsule for the actors, whose careers have all skyrocketed in the past four years.

The gutting of Miramax: Are studio specialty divisions headed for the dustbin?

Adventureland_dlWhen it comes to Hollywood’s major-studio specialty divisions — those companies within companies that produce and distribute what we used to call movies, and what we now call “small,” “independent,” “quirky,” “end-of-the-year,” “Oscar-bait” “movies for adults” — is the sky finally falling? I hope I turn out to be Chicken Little for even asking that question. I hope that the answer is no.

But the signs right now are not good. A little more than a week ago, Disney made the announcement that it was shrinking (though not eliminating) Miramax, laying off a fair portion of its employees and reducing the number of films the division would release in the upcoming year. At a glance, it looked like your basic, everyday economic-crisis management maneuver. It looked like Disney was saying: We’re downsizing the company in order to save it. But let’s look at the facts.

According to the New York Times, Miramax will eliminate 50 jobs, leaving a grand total of 20 employees. And though Daniel Battsek, the division’s tasteful and industrious president (he took over after Harvey and Bob Weinstein split from the company they’d created to go out on their own), will remain in the top spot, the division’s operations, according to Disney president Alan Bergman, “will be consolidated under the larger umbrella of Walt Disney Studios.” Instead of releasing 6 to 8 films a year, Miramax will now release just 3.

Three movies. Total. In a year. Let’s be clear: That’s not organic shrinkage — that’s borderline decimation. And it’s not happening in a vacuum. It follows, last year, the closing/consolidating of Paramount Vantage, Warner Independent, and New Line. A coincidence? Perhaps. But Hollywood, a place of cliques and tribes, has always had a way of doing things in wary, competitive packs. Like making dueling asteroid movies or going 3-D. The winnowing down of specialty divisions may be a marketplace decision, but it’s also starting to feel like the acquiring of this year’s trendy handbag — the thing one has to do because everyone else is doing it. And the cruel truth is that from the standpoint of short-term profits, this particular handbag makes a terrible kind of sense. READ FULL STORY

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