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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sunday B.O.

Strong word of mouth is still driving Wedding Crashers to an excellent hold. It will probably end up being off more like 25%, but still

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51 Responses to “Sunday B.O.”

  1. martin says:

    B.O. stinks this week.

  2. Martin says:

    wedding crashers is pulling a weird trick where it opens to less than half of it’s competition (wonka) and yet may end up making more money in the long run. that’s good legs.

  3. Eric says:

    Is that $200 million I see just around the corner for Batman Begins?

  4. Angelus21 says:

    Fantastic Four at 140 million? This has to be the story of the summer for a movie that bad.

  5. Carl says:

    Am I missing something, or wasn’t THE NOTEBOOK clearly targeted to women over 25? It came out last summer.

  6. VGM says:

    Penguins eat penguins in “March of the Penguins”? I missed that scene.

  7. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Carl is correct. “The Notebook” was aimed at older women — and it made money despite opening opposite “Fahrenheit 9/11”.
    “March of the Penguins” goes mainstream next week (1500 or so theaters per Mojo). When I saw it last week there a few families but mostly older adults.
    Although “Penguins” is rated G at least 1 arthouse chain is treating that picture like it’s rated R: no one under age 6, anyone ages 6-16 must be accompanied by an adult.

  8. Bill says:

    I don’t think anyody is buzzing about “trauma to young kids” in “March of the Penguins” except for Dave, who must now realize this film is going to top out at much more than he’d guessed when he bashed that Chris Connelly story calling it an incipient smash. Dave, be smart and drop the “Penguins” vendetta before you start to sound like Roger Friedman.

  9. sky_capitan says:

    Batman Begins is the best movie I’ve seen this summer and deserves 200 million +
    40 Year Old Virgin may be hilarious, but I want to see Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo more. I’m wondering how 40YOV will do (I thought Harold And Kumar should have done much better than it did)
    Rebound is already in the discount theaters. Is it worth $2? Does this mean the DVD will be out in September?

  10. Panda Bear says:

    The one thing women weren’t deciding between last year was Notebook and Fahrenheit 9-11. It wasn’t even a horse race.

  11. Carl says:

    I mentioned something about this in the other box office thread, but I want to bring it up here, too. In all seriousness, why did anyone at Paramount think that Hustle and Flow had breakout potential? What elements did they see in the film that I’m not seeing (and, apparently, the rest of the movie-going public isn’t seeing, either)?

  12. David Poland says:

    Bill –
    Obviously, you have an issue.
    I haven’t seen the film yet. So I have no idea about the sequence. All I know is that three people brought it up in two days. When that kind of chatter starts, I know that I’m not the only one hearing it and it will eventually be in someone’s story somewhere… more than a passing mention in a box office piece, which is all I will do on it.
    And my “bashing” remains exactly the same… a movie doing $30 million or maybe $35 million is not a “reversal of the box office slump.” I honor Laura Kim for selling this take to writers, but it’s absurd. I am perfectly happy to applaud the success of the film in the context in which it belongs. But headlines like “‘Penguins’ march defies summer box office trend” are an embarrassment to journalism.
    Let me be clear… I don’t like bullshit, made up trend stories. I don’t really care if they are about movies I like or movies I hate.
    I don’t like stories in which a reporter decides a trend is happening then bends small irrelevant things to turn one idea into a trend. Please, feel free to write a story about how Narnia is being sold in some of the same ways as Passion of The Christ.. but don’t start trying to tell me that Christians are the hot focus group in Hollywood.
    It’s great that March of The Penguins will be the second highest grossing doc of all time. but it is unlikely to place better than #5 for the year (through summer only) from indies or dependents. Embrace the real success. But be reasonable about perspective.
    Finally… what makes you think I care when a well-liked film does well, regardless of my predictions? Frankly, I don’t even know what I predicted for the film… or when I predicted it. I write a lot. When a film like Fantastic Four or The Day After Tomorrow does better than I expect, I may beat the drum a bit because the film already offended my sensibilities. But it’s not about defending my prediction. When is the last time I updated my summer box office chart? Six weeks ago? There is a reason that I stopped doing weekly box office guesses… because it just doesn’t matter.
    Yeah, it’s just like Roger Friedman writing a thousand words a week about how evil Steven Spielberg is. Yeah… that’s me.

  13. Martin says:

    Articles about “Penguins” being a success are fine, contrasting this film’s success with the current state of the marketplace is downright insane. This sort of silly/fun journalism is disgusting. The movie business is just that, a business, and should be treated as such. These sorts of stories not only diminish the writers, but the artists and the industry itself.
    The fact that Penguins looks like a nature movie for retards is beside the point.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t recall any penguin cannibalism in the movie. There’s a hungry seal/sea lion.

  15. VGM says:

    David, what sequence did these three people mention? The traumatic sequences I can think of: 1) some penguin babies succumb to the elements; 2) a leopard seal attacks a group of females and gets one; 3) a predatory bird (I don’t think Morgan Freeman identifies the species) attacks a bunch of fledglings and gets one. There’s no cannibalism (eating one’s own kind); if one of your interlocutors said that they’re wrong. I can see some youngsters being affected by these scenes. But you see a lot worse on nature shows on TV. And the last 15 minutes of ROTS are much worse than anything in “Penguins,” and I daresay many more kids saw the former than will the latter.

  16. LesterFreed says:

    Bill,
    You obviously don’t come here often and read what DP writes about. You got it all wrong. Read thru the archives. You may surprised.

  17. Carl says:

    David: I just saw your addition to your comments that address what I brought up about THE NOTEBOOK. Do you seriously believe that the under-20 audience was significant for that film? No one knew who Rachel McAdams was at that time, and the book the film was based on was sold primarily to adult/older women–as was the film.

  18. DVD says:

    I felt the same way about HUSTLE & FLOW. I don’t know what audience they were appealing to. I heard it was a pretty good film. But I still wasn’t interested in the characters or the story (i.e., a pimp and his dream of being a rapper).

  19. David Poland says:

    I don’t seriously believe. In this case, I know.
    The teen girl audience was a big part of the business. It was a big date movie last summer.
    In fact, I was quite concerned that The Terminal would eat their adult audience and that it would kill the film, but New Line correctly perceived that their audience was wider than The Terminal. I’m not sure they knew how much wider.
    If it had just been older women, you can be sure that it would have done half the business… or less.
    People barely know who Rachel McAdams is now… though I still feel she will be a major star if she doesn’t get any more bad advice or exhibit bad behavior before she has better footing.

  20. Eric says:

    Hey Dave, when you update a story with comments already on it, try not to make the early commenters look retarded by adding something they’ve already mentioned. Now my Batman comment makes it look like I didn’t read your post.
    Just saying, is all. Love you, buddy.

  21. Stella's Boy says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many females under the age of 25 I know that claim The Notebook is either their favorite movie of all-time, or their favorite movie of the last couple years. It’s insane. Talk to a female that age about movies and The Notebook comes up in about 15 seconds. Doesn’t matter what kind of taste they have or how often they watch movies or if they have read the book. They are crazy about that movie.

  22. David Poland says:

    Didn’t see any comments before writing the piece… yes, your comment was up before my copy.

  23. Eric says:

    Ah, sweet, sweet vindication. I’ve still got my street cred.

  24. Panda Bear says:

    ALl girls under 25 LOVE the Notebook. Ask them. You wonder why it did good at the BO and great on video? No guy is buying it unless its a gift.

  25. Brett B says:

    Dave is right about the Notebook. All the proof you need is to look at the MTV MOVIE AWARDS this year. It won for Best Kiss, and Rachel McAdams ended up winning 3 awards, with the other two being for Mean Girls. Even though that is for another movie, having her win 3 MTV awards in one year is still a pretty good sign of teenage popularity.

  26. Martin says:

    And speaking of bad journalism.. Bridget Byrne should find a different beat:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/eo/20050731/en_movies_eo/17057;_ylt=Aof9TEV21P9FisH2aIekd7ZxFb8C;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
    Equating a 4 screen release with movies that are on thousands of screens is just plain dumb. At least she didn’t say that “Aristocrats is defying the slump.” Or at least not in those words.

  27. Paul V says:

    It interesting to so want 40YV will do. It does seems to have equal the critic buzz with the added factor The Thrid Act does not fall apart like Wedding Crashers does. I wish they can move it back to around Oct if they could.

  28. oldman says:

    DP- You have mentioned several times Rachel McAdams bad behavior and her receiving bad advice. Can you be more specific?

  29. Rory says:

    Hustle & Flow not finding an audience has to come down to the rating. If it had been PG-13. The numnber of white American teens, who love the Game, G-Unit, Fi’ty and so on, would easily have pushed this film to 40 million. Yet, it appears, all of the hip-hop loving white kids could not get into the theatre. While other parts of the white audience, decided to cast a rather, in my mind, prejudiced opinion towards the main protagonist in the film. I guess Julia Roberts being a hooker with a heart of gold. Means more to white america, than an African-American pimp, with a heart of gold. How utterly sad and pathetic that appears to me.

  30. joefitz84 says:

    The worst advice Rachel McAdams received was turning down Fantastic Four.

  31. jeff j says:

    >>>I guess Julia Roberts being a hooker with a heart of gold. Means more to white america, than an African-American pimp, with a heart of gold. How utterly sad and pathetic that appears to me.< Thats one of the stupidist things I have ever read.

  32. Carl says:

    Rory, please remind me at which points in PRETTY WOMAN Julia Robert’s character sold drugs, beat up other characters, shot other characters, choked someone living with her, forced someone else to give a guy a blow job so she could buy something, threw someone out on the street with her baby, & humiliated and manipulated almost everyone around her. I’m having trouble remembering those moments.
    That’s my problem with Hustle and Flow; D-Jay doesn’t HAVE any redeeming or “sweet” characteristics. I kept waiting for him to do something positive, but it never happened.

  33. Sanchez says:

    Julia Roberts is a lot better looking than Terence Howard. Especially in heels.

  34. Rory says:

    Someone just warped jeffery’s fragile little mind. This from the person who fondly looks upon Dreamcatcher. To each their own utterly daft statements, in comparison to one another of course.
    Sanchez might have ended this conversation perfectly. However, a hooker is still a hooker, and a pimp is still a pimp. Carl, Im sure you love some protagonist in some movie, that does a lot worse than Djay did in Hustle and Flow.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    That’s some other Jeff. I have not seen Hustle & Flow. I remain committed to my enjoyment of Dreamcatcher.
    Carl: Rory’s point is that while DJay is a pimp, Julia Roberts was a whitewashed, unrealistic hooker, but a hooker nonetheless, made palatable to the American filmgoer. His overall point is that people would rather see fantasy than honest reality.

  36. KamikazeCamel says:

    “The fact that Penguins looks like a nature movie for retards is beside the point.”
    Excuse me Martin, but can you elaborate on how a documentary about penguin migration looks like it was made for retards? I can’t think of any myself…
    And about Hustle & Flow, I will hazzard a guess and say that rap/hip-hop music is NOT a very popular genre of music with the older set, which is probably what they were marketing towards so I doubt many would want to see it on the big screen along with realistic portrayals (as opposed to Pretty Woman which someone mentioned) of pimping, prostitution and so on.
    8 Mile’s success was put down entirely to Eminem and that 50 cent movie will be the same. There were no identifiable cast members in H&F, it had an unattractive storyline, and the whole hip-hop thing. I’m sure it’s great but great doesn’t mean it’s gonna make a lot of money.
    And hasn’t it always been obvious that people would rather watch fantasy to reality. Just look at the top 10 movies of all time. I don’t see a “Crash” or a “Hustle & Flow or a whatever in there.
    The Notebook’s success was definitely attributed to the teenage girls who want to be swept up in romance that is recognisable to THEM. Watching Diane and John hookup doesn’t really match Rachel and Ryan. They like actors playing teenagers hooking up. Plus, Rachel was just coming off of Mean Girls (2 months apart, non?).

  37. jeffmcm says:

    Crash is already a little too much of a fantasy for my taste.
    I agree with Dave P.’s point about H&F: if it was given a smaller rollout and people had been allowed to discover it, instead of being stuck into a hype machine, it would have been much better off.

  38. Rory says:

    Im sorry jeff. Apparently it’s not that difficult for me to get jeffs confused apparently. That other jeff does show bad internet decorum, by using a nick already in use. Bad show all around.
    Also, jeff, thank you for summing up my point very concisely in response to Carl’s query. If I only had that ability to be so concise when needed.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    Well, you did call WOTW on another page “dumb and depressing” which was probably the most concise you’ve ever been about it, so good job.

  40. Carl says:

    jeffmcm and Rory: Rory’s original comment was “I guess Julia Roberts being a hooker with a heart of gold. Means more to white america, than an African-American pimp, with a heart of gold.” To me, that’s not saying anything about fantasy vs. reality. Rory’s trying to make it a race issue. Note that he characterizes both as having a “heart of gold,” implying that he thinks both are “redeemable” characters, and that the only reason people aren’t responding to Hustle and Flow is that D-Jay is black.

  41. Rory says:

    Carl, to me, it does seem like a race issue. Read the comments on here, besides yours. They are stating that they just cant see, seeing a film about a pimp. Carl, at least you give outside reasons, but just using this small sample of the moviegoing audience. I think race and prejudice has some part in Hustle and Flow not finding an audience. Yet, more so than that issue, this film has a rating that keeps it from it’s KEY audience: white hip-hop loving teenagers. IF it had a Pg-13 rating. Not matter some people’s trepedations, this film would have made at least 40 million easily.

  42. Bruce says:

    Pimps are much different than hookers. Pimps have a choice. They are leaders. They put women and men into pretty much slavery. The women are addicted and usually sick and these lecherous men prey on them. The Djay character is unredeemable.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    If you’re saying that hookers have fewer choices because women have fewer economic opportunities in general, I would agree with you. But to say that pimps are leaders and full of choice, in other words, actively choosing to be evil men, then I don’t agree. They’re just choosing the easier way to make money.

  44. Lota says:

    Volunteered with males/females in prostitution in a charity health/education project for years.
    Never met a pimp I felt sorry for in any way (met hundreds, got lots of death threats).
    Never met a prostitute(met thousands) I didn’t feel sorry for, except the girls/boys from well-to-do families who did prostitution as a rebellion thing, they had a choice. (b.t.w.Only Some of the females who worked for Heidi Fleiss who were trying to get into the movies, etc., had a choice as there was a pimp often in the background that Fliess didn’t know about. Don’t worry Hollywood Johns, I won’t write a book on your sorry asses in L.A. but at least I know who you are).
    Many prostitutes aren’t sick/addicted when they “start”, forced into it by boyfriend/husband who wants the money for his own spending/addictions. These guys usually get the girl pregnant at a young age so there is a easy death threat (the kid). Almost every hooker you meet over the age of 25 has 1 child, and from that point they can’t ‘retire’, but they are discarded when a younger model is found by the pimp.
    Decriminalize, prosecute the pimps, then legalize so the only ones staying in are the ones who want to, but this country will never be honest enough to do it.
    I think Pretty Woman was a silly(almost offensively so) sanitized look at prostitution; so I didn’t feel sorry for Julia Roberts. Yes she was objectified, but the shape she was in and they way she lucked out made it seem like she was in the Biz for about 2 weeks.
    Hustle and Flow was a more realistic version of pimp/prostitution, but it still didn;t didn’t make the lead likable when you consider how much damage he did to others. If you know peeps like that, you want the same as the Detroit police chief from the early 90s who I liked very much(can’t remember his name): “I am always very happy when assholes and bullets meet on the street”. Amen brother.
    I think it is hard for a movie like that(Hustle and Flow) to succeed on that basis, unless it was a hip hop sanitized version of the facts.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    I defer to she who has more knowledge.

  46. Rory says:

    Just for conjecture sake. So the pimp cannot be redeemed, but Darth Vader can? Cresey from Man of Fire can. Countless other protagonist have commited much worse offenses on screen. That one fictionalized pimp is beyond redemption? Luckily, that sort of logic does not change the fact people like Djay exist. Instead of being villianized. They are idolized, put in films, sell million of records, and so on. It does not change the fact that they did much wrong in their past lives. However, Brewer created a film based on a pimp he saw, and real-life template for countless hip-hop stars. Shawn Carter sold drugs. He now runs Def-Jam/Island.
    Again, Djay, is that bad of a character? Also, nothing creepier prostitution and famous folks. Just, ewwwwwwww.

  47. Carl says:

    Rory: the point is that D-Jay doesn’t do anything to redeem himself! He hasn’t changed in any way at the end of Hustle and Flow. When Skinny Black (Ludacris’ character) throws D-Jay’s demo into the toilet, D-Jay responds by beating Skinny Black to near death, shooting Skinny’s bodyguard, and firing a gun wildly to escape, before he’s later captured. He hasn’t risen above his lot in life; he hasn’t learned any lessons.

  48. Lota says:

    Let’s bow our heads.
    There is redemption for all Rory if they are truly sorry and atone (if it is not too late–Darth Vader may have been in time for Luke but perhaps not for the millions he vaporized), but there wasn’t much redemption really in H&F. It’s just hard to watch for peeps who live/lived in that environment or know others who do. If that were a white guy in the lead I would dislike him no more/no less.
    A few rappers I know, who shall remain nameless did pay off women they were abusive to at the behest of their angry Mamas’ orders, once they became flush with green & bling. Money isn’t everything but it helps if you’re poor because of some other jerk keeping his foot on your neck.

  49. Rory says:

    Carl, you cant learn any lessons. When you cant raise above your lot in life because of the world you are trapped in. Brewer could have used the real-life template of people trapped in that life rising above to become successful. Yet, he decided, to take a rather Von Trier approach to the subject matter. He decided to go against the happy ending, and made a real character. At least for Memphis, because Djays are all-around Memphis. It’s not an easy life, but that does not mean the protagonist should keep anyone from a movie. Dealing with a real aspect of people living in Memphis.

  50. Panda Bear says:

    You people are really reading way too much into this movie. The best thing about it is the white nerd from Road Trip.

  51. jeffmcm says:

    Every movie’s stakes are different. Darth Vader assisting in the murder of millions exists in a completely different moral universe than Hustle & Flow. Maybe movies in the same genre can share levels, but not here.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt