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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sunday Box Office Analysis

ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz……

38 Responses to “Sunday Box Office Analysis”

  1. ZacharyTF says:

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that 40YOV was able to come from behind and beat Brothers Grimm for the weekend. Glad to see that the Friday to Saturday bump for 40YOV was 3x as big as last weekend. $100 million, here comes Andy! :)

  2. lazarus says:

    Just need to say that it’s really pleasing to know that the success of 40 Year Old Virgin is a bit of a big middle finger to the networks that mishandled and cancelled Judd Apatow’s television endeavors. While I’d prefer to see him develop characters and storylines over the course of a season, I was totally won over by his cinematic effort.
    This should give him a greenlight to do pretty much whatever he wants at this point, as far as comedy is concerned.
    Finally, a good story to balance out the bad ones.

  3. cullen says:

    I agree…40 Year Old Virgin deserves its success and good for Apatow and Co.
    Carell is brilliant and it’s awesome to see that his style of humor is being embraced by lots of people. To me, 40 Year Old Virign is THE comedy of the summer…leaves everything else in the dust.
    Four Brothers will quietly do $70 million domestic at this point…strong showing for a good but pretty typical genre flick. I would imagine that Dimension is pleased with anything over $10 million for Grimm for the weekend…regardless of the bad buzz, I’ll still see it…it’s Gilliam afterall…
    Kind of thought Red Eye would have held a bit better, but $60 million for that flick has to be considered a solid success.

  4. Krazy Eyes says:

    I’m also happy to see 40YOV getting the success it deserves. Is this Apatow’s first serious financial success? With maybe the exception of Anchorman apatow seems to have been mishandled since his writing days on the Emmy-winning Ben Stiller Show.

  5. martin says:

    people forget that freaks and geeks and undeclared both got decent ratings for awhile. they both got through a full season/season and a half despite constant shuffling by their networks. While I wouldn’t call them successes per se they weren’t outright failures.

  6. Sanchez says:

    We need the really good movies. Award time. Yes we do.

  7. ZacharyTF says:

    Actually, Martin, Freaks and Geeks was only for 13 episodes. It was shuffled around the schedule by NBC and never was a ratings winner. It was critically acclaimed but never a audience grabber.
    Freaks and Geeks: Yearbook Edition is the best $127.50 I ever spent. Except for that time in Vegas….. :)

  8. cullen says:

    I too am looking forward to the big “quality” films of the fall…can’t wait to see The Constant Gardener this weekend, though I feel I am one of the only ones…

  9. joefitz84 says:

    After City of God, I will see anything he puts out.

  10. cullen says:

    yes…me too. city of god was brilliant filmmaking and i will see anything with Merreilles’s (sp?) name on it. city of god is probably the best movie of the past few years.
    if anyone wants to see something great and different and edgy, check out (if you can) Sympathy for Mr. Vengenance…knock-out. Not as good as Oldboy (my personaly favorite movie of late) but damn good and different and constantly interesting on multiple levels.

  11. PandaBear says:

    Total Z’s.

  12. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “it’s really pleasing to know that the success of 40 Year Old Virgin is a bit of a big middle finger to the networks that mishandled and cancelled Judd Apatow’s television endeavors.”
    Settle down Lazarus. The success of 40-Year-Old-Virgin isn’t a big middle finger to nobody. Shows like Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared were cancelled because they didn’t rate well enough. Period.
    Trust me, the people at NBC are definitely NOT going to be upset that a guy that only die-hards have heard of has directed a hit movie five years after they cancelled his show.
    And it’s stupid to think they will.
    “Ooh, that guy who wrote a show on our network six years ago has not directed a hit movie. Wow, WERE WE STUPID FOR LETTING HIM GO?!!?”
    ya, exactly.
    And, yeah, how many people going to see 40YOV actually know who Apatow is? Probably only the ones who actually watched his shows.
    And, I remember seeing City Of God in early 2002 and lamenting the fact that the Academy probably hadn’t even heard of it. And then they went and made it one of the biggest surprises in Oscar history. I am definitely interested in The Constant Gardner. City of God was one of those “i’ll give it a look” movies that just blew me away. Great stuff.

  13. bicycle bob says:

    too bad judd apatow can’t write and create a hit tv show. and don’t tell me freaks and geeks was a classic. if it was it would have lasted for more than 6 episodes. if he was all into it he should ahve taken it to cable in the first place.

  14. Krazy Eyes says:

    I’ll happily say it. Freaks and Geeks was a classic. Just as in theatrical exhibition, quality often has no basis on ratings.
    If we rated the worth of films soley on their box office than Fantastic Four and Dukes of Hazzard would be two of the best films of the summer.

  15. Bruce says:

    Never saw it. Never saw the reason to since it had zero chance to see a season two.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Since when does good ratings have anything to do with a show’s quality? Friends is garbage and look how long it lasted. Freaks & Geeks is easily a classic. One of the best TV shows ever made.

  17. jesse says:

    Bob, I don’t understand how you — or anyone in general, because I know others feel the same way — can indulge in such relentless populism. Haven’t you ever liked a movie or a TV show that wasn’t a big hit at the box office or in the ratings?
    (And on a strictly factual level, F&G *did* last more than six episodes. It lasted 18.)
    Also, Martin is at least partially correct — “Undeclared” actually did pretty well in the ratings until Fox shuffled it around, pre-empted it like crazy… you know, gave it the Fox Treatment reserved for any comedies not called “That ’70s Show.” “Undeclared” was, if I recall correctly, hovering in the top 50 for its first bunch of airings; not a blockbuster, but doing pretty well in its post-70sShow slot. It’s a genuine wonder that “Arrested Development” has managed to reach a third season.
    I don’t recall “Freaks & Geeks” ever garnering more than anemic ratings, though. But so what? Unless a network is either losing a large sum of money on a particular show, or is confident that EVERY new fall series they’re introducing in a given year is creatively and/or financially sound, why shouldn’t they just stick with shows with strong cult and critical followings? They should think of it as penance for shows like “According to Jim” or “CSI: Everywhere.”
    It’s just more entertainment-industry greed. No shows should survive with fewer than 8 million viewers, anything that makes sales of $18 CDs drop a little must be illegal, and a year that doesn’t set box office records is a major slump.

  18. bicycle bob says:

    the people who say freaks and geeks is a classic are elitists who will like anything thats good but not popular. friends was a much better show. the purpose of a sitcom is to make u laugh. friends did that. geeks didn’t. it went over too many heads. too bad they didn’t wait 5 yrs to make it. then they could have actually got on a cable station and stayed on the air and done something. they should have known better. when was the last time a show like that stayed on for more than 1 season?

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Bob:
    Are you one of the people whose head Freaks and Geeks went over?
    Are you saying there’s something wrong with people who ‘like anything that’s good’?
    Do you scan the ratings and box office charts to decide what TV shows and movies to like?

  20. Bruce says:

    The problem was Freaks and Geeks just cost too much to produce. An hour scripted show is expensive to make when the ratings just don’t support it. And the title? Awful. You mention that title to average people and they wouldn’t watch it no matter what. Terrible marketing.

  21. Stella's Boy says:

    Jesus Christ. Now only elitists like Freaks & Geeks? What a load of shit. It’s hilarious how untrue that is. It went over too many heads?! You have got to be joking. Someone who says that clearly has not seen the show. It’s about teenagers. It ain’t rocket science or nuclear physics. You’d have to be an infant for anything on that show to you over your head. It’s just an extremely well-written and well-acted show. Simple as that. There is nothing at all that is “elitist” about Freaks & Geeks. Whenever someone resorts to the elitist angle, they are really getting desperate. Liking that show has nothing to do with how popular or unpopular it is. It has to do with liking something that is good. Why can’t it be as simple as that? F&G is hilarious. Friends is a terrible show. It’s a miracle if there is one genuine laugh in any given episode.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Some people only want to be on winning teams, which is a different kind of elitism.

  23. Bruce says:

    It had to go over a few heads if only a few people ended up watching it. It was on the wrong network. At the wrong time. Had some nice cast members in it though.

  24. jesse says:

    Speaking as someone who even kinda LIKES Friends (it’s spotty and broad, but funnier than a lot of sitcoms), the comparisons to Freaks & Geeks are beyond ridiculous. I mean, first of all, F&G was by no means a sitcom. It’s an hour, single-camera, and had both funny and serious moments. Maybe a show could be two out of three and still qualify as a sitcom, but all three means it’s pretty much tested out of *that* class.
    Bob, when you say the purpose of the show is to make “you” laugh, are you saying Friends is superior because it made *you* laugh more, or because it made “more people” laugh overall? If you’re arguing the former, well, OK… I don’t agree, but it’s hard to argue comedy with people. But it sounds like you’re at least sort of arguing the latter, which is ridiculous; for that matter, “Yes Dear” has made “more people” laugh than “Arrested Development” or even the early seasons of “Seinfeld” … so what? Shrek 2 grossed more than Spiderman 2, and which is the better sequel? It’s just numbers.

  25. bicycle bob says:

    what is the purpose of a sitcom? to make u laugh and make u feel something right? friends obviously touched a chord with the public out there. geeks didn’t. it had a lot of things not going in its favor. the creators should have realized that. timeslot, network, 1 hr comedy/drama, cast of no names, no buzz. its just the facts. i thought it was decent with room for potential but whoever thought it would last more than a yr is lying. i liked friends here and there but i didn’t set my weekly schedule to it. i barely watch the reruns. its no seinfeld.

  26. BluStealer says:

    Too much Friends hate here. What is so wrong with a great cast and great writing? I can name great sitcoms in the last 20 years on my one hand.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    Whenever I catch a few minutes of an old Friends episode, I can’t believe how painfully unfunny it is. The characters are all obnoxious idiots, and when they speak it’s like listening to someone slowly dragging their fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s a horrible show. I don’t care how many people love it or how great the ratings were. Neither one has a damn thing to do with quality.
    I don’t think the creators of Freaks & Geeks had any control over when NBC decided to air it. And why in the hell should they have tried to cast “names” rather than the best people for the job? It is a brilliant show. Hilarious, moving, extremely well-acted. Writing that is head and shoulders above almost anything on TV right now. I can revisit it over and over again, and I never get sick of it. The best episode of Friends isn’t nearly as funny as the worst joke on Freaks & Geeks.

  28. Mark Ziegler says:

    Comedy is subjective but it doesn’t shock me that Stella’s Girl hates something popular. Don’t be so Archie Bunker, Stella. We all know you lived and died by who ended up with Rachel. You can tell us.

  29. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Geez Stella, hyperbole much?
    I can understand people not liking Friends but to that extent? The show (particularly in seasons 4-7) had fantastic writing, a great cast that knew how to act against one another (which so many shows do not), some great storylines (surrogate triplets much?) and had a geniune happy and fun vibe through it (again, which so many sitcoms do not). It has more laughs her episode that an entire series of any number of fat-husband-hot-wife sitcoms that somehow flood the tv.
    How anyone can hate it so much to the extent you seem to is beyond me.
    And this is from someone who did like Freaks & Geeks, so don’t go saying I’m a populist or whatever you wanna call it. I just appreciate good comedy done well, which Friends was.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    Why would I call you a populist Kamikaze? Have you seen me call anyone names? No. I am not the one throwing around terms like elitist, as some others are. Different strokes for different folks. I think it’s a bad show. It doesn’t make me laugh. I don’t like the characters. I realize I’m in the minority, but we all are from time to time. Doesn’t change our opinions.

  31. bicycle bob says:

    being elitist is not exactly being called a “bad name”. its just who u are. what was a better comedy the past 12 yrs than friends? curb ur enthusiasm? seinfeld? and how do u know about the weak season 4-7 if u didn’t religiously watch it every week? if u don’t think somethings funny why would u even attempt to watch it? weird.

  32. Bruce says:

    What makes you laugh? Yes Dear?

  33. BluStealer says:

    Friends is one of the best sitcoms ever. It is even rewatchable in syndication. I’m sure a lot of people don’t like it. But you can’t please everyone.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    I am changing the subject because it’s gotten boring. Anyone seen The Constant Gardener yet? I can’t wait to see it. Reading a few reviews of it today, some of which called it the best movie of the year, I was stunned to come across two extremely negative reviews. One at filmjerk, and the other at filmcritic. Here’s an excerpt from the latter:
    That not a shred of blame for the continent

  35. Mark Ziegler says:

    Whats the need to change the topic of the thread? Post that on one of the newer topics/threads. I’m sure a lot of people will want to chat about that new movie and being stuck on a thread from last week won’t help it.

  36. Stella's Boy says:

    Where would it have been more appropriate? The James Bond thread? The discussion here was going nowhere fast. It needed a change.

  37. Mark Ziegler says:

    Then let it die a sitcoms death. Just trying to help you out here. Start The CG on the monitor thread. Because it deserves its own place and doesn’t deserve to be in the crappy sitcom talk.

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    I appreciate you trying to help. I agree, The CG deserves its own place. I tried to bring it up in the most appropriate place. The other threads didn’t seem right.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin