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High Stakes for Star-Studded Caper 'Ocean's Twelve'
Fri Dec 10, 2004 09:09 PM ET
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By Kevin Krolicki

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It sounds like an impossible heist: with the clock ticking and important people demanding payback, Danny Ocean and his eclectic crew of con men have to make off with millions under intense scrutiny.

Can "Ocean's Twelve" work their criminal magic again?

It's the high-stakes question that sets in motion the sequel to the 2001 hit "Ocean's Eleven," but an even more pressing issue for studio Warner Bros, which is counting on the caper to steal the box-office crown after a series of high-profile studio misfires.

The movie, the biggest debut at U.S. theaters on Friday, is expected to dominate the pre-Christmas weekend and top the $38.1 million opening by its predecessor, itself a sequel to the 1960 Rat Pack original headed by Frank Sinatra.

Heavily promoted by its ensemble cast, featuring George Clooney as Ocean, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Matt Damon, "Ocean's Twelve" cost an estimated $110 million to make after the high-powered principals signed on for a fraction of their usual paychecks.

To hear them tell it, they did it in part for the sheer fun of hanging out in Italy, drinking wine at Clooney's Lake Como villa and enjoying an exchange of escalating practical jokes.

"We're expecting 'Ocean's Twelve' to be one of the biggest movies of the holiday season," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracking service Exhibitor Relations.

He notes that the spectacle of Hollywood's top talent so clearly enjoying themselves on screen "proved to be irresistible" for audiences three years ago.

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh said the idea for a sequel struck him while on the road promoting the first movie in Europe. Other cast members said they saw it as a way to get the party started again.

"When we were doing the press tour for 'Ocean's Eleven,' we were all very adamant about not doing a sequel," Pitt said at a news conference in Rome.

"We were having a beautiful dinner at 'La Bolognese' and a beautiful plate of buffalo mozzarella, and we all love Rome. Steven looked up and said 'I have an idea for the sequel,' and we all threw in our lots and agreed to do it, but it had to take place here."    Continued ...

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