HBO bringing ‘Crix’ into mix

Docu to be based on Bart's <I>Variety</I> book

A documentary relating the inside stories behind Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters will be produced by HBO and directed by Oscar winner Bill Couturie.

Docu “Crix Nix Hix Pix” will be based on the book of the same name written by Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart and published by Miramax Books in conjunction with Variety’s 100th anniversary.

Couturie, whose credits include HBO’s “Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops From the Battlefields of Iraq,” is a five-time Emmy winner who won an Oscar for HBO doc “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt.”

Title of the book and film stems from one of Variety‘s most famous headlines — “Sticks Nix Hick Pix.”

The feature-length film will put the spotlight on various blockbusters, describing the inside stories of their development and production and the efforts — often unsuccessful — to emulate their recipes for success.

Executive producers of the documentary will be Charles C. Koones, president and publisher of Variety, and Bart.  It will air in March.

“The history of our biggest hits in film, TV and theater is a story of iconoclasm and defiance,” Bart said. “By and large they were not embraced by the critics or, immediately, by the audiences. But the perseverance of their creators ultimately overcame these obstacles and won them great success — a success that was usually denied their imitators. Variety, through the years, has chronicled this phenomenon in our popular culture, and these resources will be drawn upon in preparing the book and documentary.”

Among the familiar success recipes to be examined by the documentary are the Zeitgeist films, such as “American Graffiti,” which captured a moment in time; the epic genre, such as “Birth of a Nation”; and films built around a bestseller, such as “The Godfather.”

Top stars and filmmakers will appear in the documentary to comment on the cavalcade of hits and wannabe hits and explain how they affected their careers.

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