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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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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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