Broadcast News (1987)

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Broadcast News is a 1987romantic comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks. The film concerns a virtuoso television news producer (Holly Hunter), who has daily emotional breakdowns, a brilliant yet prickly reporter (Albert Brooks) and his charismatic but far less seasoned rival (William Hurt).

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Plot

The film revolves around three characters who work in television news. Jane Craig (Hunter) is a talented, neurotic producer whose life revolves around her work. Jane’s best friend and frequent collaborator, Aaron Altman (Brooks), is a gifted writer and reporter ambitious for on-camera exposure who is secretly in love with Jane. Tom Grunick (Hurt), a local news anchorman who until recently was a sports anchorman, is likeable and telegenic, but lacks news experience and knows that he was only hired for his good looks and charm. He is attracted to Jane, although he is also intimidated by her skills and intensity.

Broadcast News (1987)

All three work out of the Washington, D.C., office of a national television network. Jane is drawn to Tom, but resents his lack of qualifications for his new position as news anchor. Aaron also is appalled by Tom’s lack of experience and knowledge, but accepts his advice when finally getting an opportunity to anchor a newscast himself. Unfortunately, he lacks Tom’s poise and composure in that seat, and his debut as an anchor is a failure.

Aaron acknowledges to Jane that he is in love with her while trying to dissuade her from pursuing a romantic relationship with Tom. As a massive layoff hits the network, resulting in many colleagues losing their jobs, Aaron tenders his resignation, and tells her he plans to take a job in Portland, Oregon. However, before he leaves, he briefly tells Jane of an interview Tom had conducted with a victim of date rape in which Tom appeared to be crying out of sympathy; Aaron quickly gives evidence that this was not authentic, then leaves. Jane later discovers, upon looking through the footage, that Tom’s tears were indeed staged.

Broadcast News (1987)

As Tom is at the airport leaving for London (where the network is transferring him), Jane angrily confronts him, saying that his actions were a breach of journalistic ethics and that she cannot in good conscience become personally involved with him. She no longer has either man in her personal or professional life, at least until the three of them reunite several years later.

Box office

Broadcast News was given a limited release on December 16, 1987, in seven theaters and managed to gross USD $197,542 on its opening weekend. It went into wide release on December 25, 1987, in 677 theaters, grossing $5.5 million on its opening weekend. The film went on to make $51.3 million in North America and $16.1 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $67.3 million.

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