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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Can You Hear the Distant Thunder of the Big Fall movies?

They’re getting closer. But in the meantime, Sony’s giving us Gattaca and I Know What You Did Last Summer instead of Starship Troopers. Fox is giving us A Life Less Ordinary instead of Alien Resurrection. And Disney is staying out of the fray altogether until it’s ready to smash the animated classic/Robin Williams 2X4 over the head of Fox’s Anastasia.
Gattaca should open on top of the box office crowd with around $12 million. Sony is marketing as fast as they can, but the weird title and soft reviews are keeping the buzz from exploding. Seems like Sony sated a chunk of Gattaca’s audience last weekend with its other genre movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which should take the standard 35 percent drop to $10.3 million for second place. The Devil’s Advocate should retain its “Number One Devil As Lawyer Movie In America” title with a 30 perecent drop to $8.5 million. Then, there’s a huge holdover drop, down to a likely third week showdown between Kiss the Girls and Seven Years In Tibet for fifth and sixth at around $4.2 million. Sneaking into that gap, A Life Less Ordinary should fall in love with fourth spot with around $6 million.
Fairy Tale: A True Story is a hard sell in a weak kids market, seamlessly opening in the now-gone Rocketman’s seventh slot with $3 million. In & Out is heading toward the latter with about $2.6 million for eighth place. Over the lips and through the gums, look out cable, here comes Soul Food — ninth with $2 million. And rounding out the top 10, one must acknowledge Bean, the Rowan Atkinson comedy that’s already broken the $100 million mark in foreign release and domestically has only opened in Canada — yes, Canada is part of the domestic box office — to the tune of more than $2 million.
Finally, Boogie Nights expands to 50 screens and should pull in a little over $1.25 million before opening wide on Halloween. That’s quite a costume, Marky Mark!
What are you planning to wear for Halloween? Actually, I don’t care, but if you have something to say, email me.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas