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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

That’s a really nice number for Disturbia. Gerry Rich and the Paramount team figured out how to a Screen Gems opening for what is basically, a Screen Gems movie. And that is not damning with faint praise.
The Ashley Judd genre is officially dead, as Halle Berry puts up her worst opening since Monster’s Ball.
Pathfinder dies the death it has been foretelling for a year now.
Redline does fairly well for an truly independently distributed movie… certainly compared to Pathfinder.
And all the talk about Grindhouse grinds it up even futher. It’s a good thing that the New York Times is there to sweep the mess under the rug for The Weinsteins.
The truth is, it is very similar to what happened to DreamWorks. TWC entered the marketplace at the worst possible time to build their dream and they have been caught with their financial pants around their ankles. And the NYT suckage and the arrival of Michael Moore with a $50 million grosser and even adding a west coast gossip to their east coast bee-otch, Mr. Friedman, ain’t going to change the inevitable shift of the next 6 months.
EDIT – Pulled “The family audience continues to show its muscles as Are We Done Yet? holds all too well. ” because the typo in the chart became apparent. Also, chart replaced with the correction of AWTY? to 55% off.

42 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. martindale says:

    Disturbia’s number is at first somewhat surprising, but then think about it: There aren’t too many, if any, films out there attracting teenage girls.

  2. martin says:

    Are We Done Yet dropped 55%. Since when is that good for a family film?

  3. anghus says:

    so much for that “word of mouth will save Grindhouse” theory.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    DP, you keep talking about the NYTimes sucking up to the Weinsteins as if it’s some kind of mainstream knowledge.

  5. Wrecktum says:

    Yeah, example please.

  6. marychan says:

    Anyway, DreamWorks is doing fine under Paramount’s management.
    However, I doubt anybody want to be the Weinsteins’ boss; they can’t be controlled.

  7. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Some hack at a New Jersey newspaper wrote a racist piece that praised “Grindhouse” and slammed “Are We Done Yet?” His M.O. was “black movie, bad; white movie, good”. The story appeared the day after Imus got fired for his racist shtick on the Rutgers Lady Nights.
    FWIW the newspaper involved is the local daily for Rutgers’ hometown — and that paper willfully mishandled the story.

  8. David Poland says:

    DreamWorks is not under Paramount’s management… just their ownership… and even that is borderline.
    My apology on Are We Done Yet? Didn’t catch Len’s typo.

  9. Nicol D says:

    After finally seeing the flick, I think it is very safe to say word of mouth will not help Grindhouse. I literally just got off the phone telling a friend not see it.
    The biggest problem it has, is that it is not even really a Grindhouse film.
    Planet Terror owes far more to films of the eighties like From Beyond, Re-Animator, Humanoid, Parasite, The Beast Within or Motel Hell than it has anything to do with an early seventies film.
    The trailers are funny but it is also telling that the piece that is easily the most successful, Don’t, does not show any gore. In other words, it feels exactly like the real trailers would be. The other trailers are ok but show far too much violence so the point becomes blunted.
    The budget on the SS Wolves was far too high. Ilsa films looked like crap. This did not although I dug the Nic Cage cameo.
    Violence and language in GH films was never as explicit as in Grindhouse the Movie. It’s as though did not know if they wanted to do a faithful recreation or an homage. But aren’t their regular films homages anyway? What’s the point?
    As for Tarantino’s piece. It is a failure. Some nice compositions and the piece where Russell talks about really having a little black book is genuinely funny and clever, but let’s be honest, he is barely in Death Proof and the dialogue QT has written for the other actresses sounds like it is from outtakes from Jerry Springer Unrated. In other words, nothing clever, just trash talk.
    As for the big chase; yes, it is well staged, but fails ultimately because you care nothing for the characters. Yes, Russell is a misogynist killer but these women are three of the most obnoxious, ignorant people to ever walk the great fruited plain so who cares.
    If you are going to strap yourself onto the top of a Dodge Charger and go really fast for ‘shits and giggles’ and then someone tries to take you off the road…I don’t really care. You’re both asses.
    The climax is laughably cartoonish in a way that makes you shake your head in awe that he thought it was clever. Mickey Rourke was right to steer clear of that dreck. This was not Faster Pussycat (a cool film with cool women), it was The Three Stooges with gore. I was waiting for Wile E Coyote to show up it was so silly.
    It would have been much better if the second half of the film consisted of a survior from the first half getting revenge. That is after all how real Gh films worked. See her stalking Russell the way he stalked them.
    As it is, it’s a big fat who cares?
    It also loses points for sincerity because QT probably never saw GH movies in the cinema but would have seen them on VHS during the early heyday of video.
    Perhaps for the video release they should rename it Betamax: The Movie.

  10. Martin S says:

    Dave’s NYT/TWC comment is in reference to the apologist piece from earlier this week. NYT allowed Bob to pretty much lay the company blame on several non-factors, such as Michael Moore supposedly taking too long on his projects.
    It’s a funny to read actually, especially when you get to the end and Kevin Smith goes all crybaby about how the “long knives are out” for Bob & Harvey, and just a few paragrpahs earlier, they included his bailing on Fletch as apart of the innocent victim defense.
    The GH box, IMO, is a reflection on Kill Bill’s over indulgence. Film fans for the most part loved KB, but the general audience really disliked Vol 1. QT he spent his theatrical capital and it’s time to get back to the basics. Bastardshas a shot of doing that because the concept plays to his strengths – which ain’t female characters.
    GH would have probably done much better if QT wrote/produced, RR directed the main feature and trialers were laced throughout. I’m not implying critics would have liked it more, but the A-D-D demographic would have been all in.

  11. Martin S says:

    Nicol – “It’s as though did not know if they wanted to do a faithful recreation or an homage. But aren’t their regular films homages anyway? What’s the point”?
    110% correct. I felt the movie was possibly in trouble when I saw the trailers RR supposedly picked for the SXSW contest. The winner was a full-on parody, and the runner-ups were something Vestron would have released in the D2V heyday. There were much, much more accurate examples of GH films on Youtube than the three chosen, so I chalked it up to RR not actually being involved in the process. But after GH’s release, I had to reconsider.

  12. Rob says:

    “As for the big chase; yes, it is well staged, but fails ultimately because you care nothing for the characters.”
    Oh, don’t I? Thanks, Nicol. (I hate when people use the second person in their analyses.)

  13. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Hopefully this stumble by the lords of pop culture is an instant death knell for all faux retro material being created. Ever. Period. The purists don’t want to see it and neither does the mainstream. It signifies that a circle jerk amongst film geeks should probably remain behind closed doors.
    Nicol you are right that neither film feels like the actual films they’re supposed to be emulating but I feel you are incorrect when describing things as ‘how real Gh films worked’. That statement pinpoints exactly what is wrong with the thinking on both sides of this debate.. Grindhouses were just cinemas, not films. People should not use it as a descriptive term as a genre per se, even though you’ll find established critics using the misnomer over and over again. It’s as simpleminded as the ill conceived campaign behind Grindhouse the movie.
    I think you are wrong about QT – he did go to grindhouses. He may myth up some of his movie history, but he didn’t discover film via the vcr. Its just a shame he wasn’t satisfied enough celebrating exploitation and b-movies with his mini-festivals and revival screenings.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I hope you’re wrong, Dr.
    Just one point: “Violence and language in GH films was never as explicit as in Grindhouse the Movie.”
    This is incorrect. The budgets weren’t as high so you couldn’t have something as state-of-the-art as the car crash in Death Proof, but these movies were always defined by violence and action.

  15. Nicol D says:

    Martin S,
    Yes, Hobo with a Shotgun is a parody…but of what, I sure do not know. I didn’t think it was that funny either.
    Jeffrey Boam’s Doctor,
    I do not doubt QT went to some Grindhouses, but I think he is much more a product of the VHS boom of the eighties than of the theatre boom of the 70’s. Even Eli Roth’s trailer was more like the early eighties VHS releases like Mother’s Day. I think they confused many of these genre’s.
    Yes the films were defined by violence, action and sex (which they forgot), but never as explcit in either the films or the trailers. It just wasn’t allowed. The extreme graphic nature of all of the films and shorts took them out of the GH and made them too contemporary. That’s why “Don’t” worked so well. It masked the violence with bad edits…just like those films did. You saw much less than you thought you did.
    ALSO…I totally forgot to add this; The films were screaming, crying out to be period pieces. why they were contemporary I have no idea. Worst creative decision made. QT’s could have easily been period early seventies.
    I think at the end of the day they just had a good idea but did not know how far to commit to it and hedged their bets too many times. Were they making films of the 70’s, 80’s or geek films for the AICN crowd or films the crix would love. The confusion shows.

  16. Wrecktum says:

    Why does Poland criticize the NYT’s nuzzing Weinstein blowjob while ignoring Claudia Eller’s concurrent LAT nuzzling blowjob of Battsek’s New Miramax? Both were undeserved.

  17. Filipe says:

    Something tell me Nicol never watched a Lucio Fulci film.

  18. Nicol D says:

    No, but the film is not called Casa di Frantumazione either.

  19. Me says:

    Nicol, Rob may not have, but I pretty much agreed with your sum-up of DeathProof 100%.

  20. David Poland says:

    Well, Wreck… for one thing, it is not remotely the same. Not only doez Battsek deserve some love for a limited, but pretty successful Miramax relaunch, but it is not a direct reaction to a public embarrassment. Battsek liked the licking, no doubt. But it wasn’t pretecting him from a media perception problem.
    No, Battsek is not a terribly significant force in Hollywood. (,1,2496477.story) But he is a gentleman and he has had some nice success stories.
    Nothing in the NYT piece on TWC is new info. I was writing about their grander ambitions a year before they launched the company, as were others. And all things considered, it was bullshit. Movies are the core of that company, no matter what the spin. And no other business the Weinsteins have ever invested in, other than Broadway, have ever paid off.
    The thing that drives me nuts about the NYT coverage in these situations is that they get so excited about getting someone on the record that they forget to be skeptical… like reporters. The piece does have a lot of good reporting. But he pulls the rug out from under himself by being so kind to a spinning Weinstein.
    And Kevin Smith is wrong. The long knives are not out. The truth is out. The new business is not a success at this point and Grindhouse has been what they hoped would be the tipping point for over a year now… and it tipped the wrong way. That’s a lot of spilt milk.
    As I have written before, I don’t think it’s all that shocking. The same way DreamWorks got into TV at the worst moment possible – when creators were being grossly overpaid even without delivering, costing DW hundreds of millions of unrecoupable losses in its early years – TWC launched as the power shifted to studio distribution and marketing budgets were way out of hand.

  21. Considering Grindhouse isn’t out here yet I can’t comment. SO I’ll discuss something else.
    Is Die Hard 4.0 (that was the name on the trailer I saw at Sunshine, not Live Free or Die Hard) going to flop? People seem to have gone back into their anti-Bruce Willis phase again (it happens to people like him and John Travolta and several others every few years).

  22. Hallick says:

    Die Hard 4.O or whatever it ought to be called looks more like a “Mercury Rising 2″ than a Die Hard film. That’s what really sucks about it.

  23. Krazy Eyes says:

    Nicol D writes . . . Even Eli Roth’s trailer was more like the early eighties VHS releases like Mother’s Day. I think they confused many of these genre’s.
    Even though these early 80s slashers are mostly known for being part of the VHS wave they were also bonafide grindhouse features a couple of years earlier. Don’t forget that many of the NY grindhouses were going well into the mid-80s. Perhaps not the heyday of the 70’s but I saw many of these in NYC double-features.
    Also, there were tons of incredibly violent and gory trailers out there for these films (they also often contained a ton of nudity if that was a selling point for the film). They might not be allowed now but they certainly were allowed back then. Pick up a trailer comp DVD (like Synapse’s 42nd St. Forever series) or do a quick browse on YouTube. I remember one of my complaints often being that they showed *all* the gore scenes in the trailer.

  24. Rob says:

    Don’t know if anyone else already commented on this in another thread, but it’s the most hilarious apologia for Grindhouse’s failure yet – “Oh, they didn’t know it was two movies, so they left halfway through, and then told their friends not to go.”

  25. MattM says:

    That wouldn’t necessarily shock me, Rob. At the big multiplex in Union Square at NYC last night, there were warning signs that the film “scratches” and “burn effects” in Grindhouse were all intentional. Apparently, they’d gotten complaints and/or questions.
    I haven’t seen the flick, but are there credits after “Planet Terror?” If so, bizarre decision.

  26. Nicol D says:

    Krazy Eyes,
    “Also, there were tons of incredibly violent and gory trailers out there for these films (they also often contained a ton of nudity if that was a selling point for the film). ”
    I have never said there was no gore in these films. What I said was that the amount of gore was no where near what is shown or allowed in our cinema today. Our minds tend to play tricks on us with these things.
    I have friends that will say to me ‘Why can’t we have any hard-R comedies these days like Caddyshack?’. But what I have to remind them is yes, in 1981 Caddyshack was R, but by today’s standards it is strict PG stuff.
    Todays PG-13’s are far more gory than most R’s of the 70’s. Standards have loosened. The average episode of 24 has more graphic violence in it then was allowed in the cinema in the 1970’s.
    I know there are always exceptions, but these films were violent but no where near as graphic as what T & R are selling.
    If you can give me some specific YouTube examples I’d gladly watch them; but by my recollection, the kind of gore GH is selling didn’t come in until the eighties…and even then they have pushed it. That is part of the flaw of the film I believe.
    Roth’s trailer does so much right: the VO, the cuts, the look…but it is so gory it could only come from a modern filmmaker and that kind of ruins the joke for me. Especially the last shot in Roth’s trailer in particular.

  27. Scott Mendelson says:

    Indeed you’re right Nicol D. For example, for whatever reason I found myself watching A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 the other week. It was, if you recall, the most popular and highest grossing of the series. Yet, despite being R-rated (and being considered ‘hard-mainstream horror’), it contained almost no explicitly graphic violence, no nudity, and only a bit of profanity here and there. There was the occasional blood-splash, but nothing that even compares with CSI or 24 in terms of graphic violence. From my childhoold memories, most of these films usually had 80% of their violence offscreen or with quick and painless deaths (a splash of blood, a super-quick shot of something sharp hitting the body), with one or two ‘fx-gross-out’ highlight bits that everyone would talk about at the playground (a woman bloodlessly turning into a cockroach in Nightmare 4, a beheading or two in Halloween 4, etc). Whether that’s progress or not is debatable, but I’m always shocked when I catch 80s horror and realize how tame it really is.
    Scott Mendelson
    PS – I made the same discovery about Friday The 13th part 7, but I know for a fact that that particular chapter is infamous for MPAA-mandated cuts.

  28. RudyV says:

    Same for “Dawn of the Dead”–I avoided seeing that movie for decades because I was in no way a fan of gross-out horror and it was supposedly one of the most gory movies ever made, yet I gave in about a decade ago and saw it because of the anti-consumer subtext I kept reading about…and realized to my shock and horror that it really wasn’t all that shocking after all. At least, not compared to what came later.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    The funny thing is, horror movies always seem much more violent in your memory than in reality. A few years back, I sat down to watch several Universal classics from the ’30s and ’40s — movies that had scared the hell out of me when I was a kid watching them on TV during the ’60s — and I was amazed to see how few people actually were killed, even off camera, in all of them.
    On the other hand: Some notorious exploitation movies from the ’60s and ’70s actually were every bit as violent as they’re reputed to be. Anyone here ever see Blood Feast? 2000 Maniacs? Gruesome Twosome?

  30. Krazy Eyes says:

    Well maybe we watched a different set of exploitation films back in the day. I would argue that there is *nothing* in Grindhouse that is more extreme than some of the stuff in late 70s/early 80s classics like Gates of Hell, New York Ripper, Bloodsucking Freaks, and (as Joe mentioned) much of HG Lewis’ output. I still occassionally watch these so I don’t think it’s completely a haze of nostalogia issue (which I agree does exist).
    Planet Terror definitely owed a lot to the zombie films of Lucio Fulci but since I would clearly consider those early-80s Grindhouse I didn’t see a problem there.

  31. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Nicol D – “the amount of gore was no where near what is shown or allowed in our cinema today. Our minds tend to play tricks on us with these things.”
    Though memory does have a way of playing with your mind, Nicol and Scott are wrong when it comes to blanket statements about how GH is tougher than films of yore. Talking about CADDYSHACK is not the right argument. JAWS was PG think it’d get that now? See – Dumb argument.
    I also think youtube has a zero tolerance policy for implements being stuck into orifices. So you might need to order some material from Alpha Blue Archives or VSOM and not your local blockbuster to see what Krazy and I are talking about.
    Your letting silly Rodriguez gore fx cloud your judgement – extremity sometimes has nothing to do with the amount of grue. On a perversity level alone – there would be a lot of R rated films from the 70s that wouldn’t get a R nowadays.
    You talk about R films as if all big studio product was the only material in fleapits. It was actually mostly independent product and some distributors (Hallmark, Bryanston, Aquarius etc) sometimes didn’t give a hoot about the MPAA and their precious R rating, when they had to cut material, they did and then put it back in anyway.

  32. Nicol D says:

    Jeffrey Boam’s Doctor
    “JAWS was PG think it’d get that now? See – Dumb argument. ”
    Uhhh, no I don’t see. Jaws would get a very soft PG-13 were it released now. Same as Jurassic Park. It sure would not be R but PG-13 didn’t exist then so it got the lesser rating.
    “On a perversity level alone – there would be a lot of R rated films from the 70s that wouldn’t get a R nowadays.”
    Can you give some examples? I mean, I’ve watched a lot of ’em and by today’s standards they would be very PG-13. If they got an R they would be considered very safe.
    Extremity does not always have to do with the amount of gore, but can you name me any films that had similar subject matter to what Roth shows? I’m thinkin’ and I’m comin’ up deuce. I don’t wnat to give it away to people who have not seen GH but I will if I need to be more explicit.
    Again, your argument would make more sense if you had some examples. Other than that, it is just another…dumb argument.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    Caddyshack contained at least one sex scene, which would automatically get it an R these days.
    The Wild Bunch Extended Edition was released in the early ’90s. The MPAA initially gave it an NC-17 which was reduced to an R on appeal (the new content contained little additional violence and one new nude scene).
    Airplain, rated PG back in 1980, would undoubtably receive an R rating today, due to its brief nudity and pervasive drug use. In fact, any ’70s-80s flick with a positive depection of drug use (Poltergeist, 9 to 5, etc) would no doubt
    be slapped with an R.
    To say that movies today are more violent than films from the ’70s ignores the prevalence of Euro-horror like Fulci and Deodato, art-house gore like 120 Days of Sodom and Caligula and downmarket trash like I Spit On Your Grave and Bloodsucking Freaks. All of which were rated R.
    Just some food for thought.

  34. Krazy Eyes says:

    I’ll save the board having to read some examples but a quick peek at YouTube show a decent amount of this stuff posted.
    This post contains scenes from Pieces and a bunch of Fulci films. Not surpringsly the razor blade scene from NY Ripper at around the 3:00 mark is cut short (it gets much more nasty in a graphic and sexual nature) because YouTube would probably remove the video immediately.
    Here’s the infamous barfing scene from Gates of Hell. This is still nasty by today’s standards but the FX are dated.
    And lastly the “splinter” scene from Zombi. I’m guessing this was the inspiration for QTs demise in Planet Terror.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Humanoids from the Deep features fish monsters raping topless women in broad daylight. Clash of the Titans features a topless woman in its first ten minutes. Bachelor Party has toplessness, drugs, and a penis in a hot dog bun.
    I would like to politely suggest that Nicol’s viewing habits may be relatively limited in range.

  36. Wrecktum says:

    Humanoids From the Deep and Bachelor Party were rated R, so I don’t see the point in mentioning them. Clash of the Titans was, on the other hand, not only rated PG, but it was marketed as a family movie. A family movie with awesome tittie action in it…try to find that nowadays!
    BTW, I misspelled “Airplane” above. My bad.

  37. Bob Violence says:

    To say that movies today are more violent than films from the ’70s ignores the prevalence of Euro-horror like Fulci and Deodato, art-house gore like 120 Days of Sodom and Caligula and downmarket trash like I Spit On Your Grave and Bloodsucking Freaks. All of which were rated R.
    The R-rated version of Caligula that came out in 1981 had little resemblance to the infamous Guccione cut (which was released the previous year sans rating and tanked at the box-office) — it was missing over fifty minutes of footage, including all the hardcore stuff, much of the violence, and even some of the non-hardcore sex and nudity. The R-rated cut of I Spit on Your Grave was 17 minutes shorter than the original; in some markets it went out uncut but was still advertised as an R-rated feature, which is obviously a massive breach of MPAA rules and caused significant controversy (Siskel and Ebert spent the better part of an episode complaining about it). The same thing happened with Bloodsucking Freaks, with less controversy (although the MPAA sued Troma for misuse of the R rating). Salo has never been submitted to the MPAA.

  38. Wrecktum says:

    You’re clearly the expert! I thought Salo did have a rating…thanks for the clarification.

  39. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    The violence of Caligula was in the R rated cut.
    Can I name some examples that are as violent as Roths trailer that were released in US theatres? Don’t even get me started on the really nasty violent porn cross over titles like FORCED ENTRY, SEX WISH, CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER.

  40. Wrecktum says:

    Here’s the great trailer for the afore mentioned Humanoids from the Deep.
    Nicol “it just wasn’t allowed” D would be shocked.

  41. Wrecktum says:

    And here’s one for Contamination!
    Thanks, Jeffrey Boam’s Doctor. Never seen that one.

  42. Bob Violence says:

    The violence of Caligula was in the R rated cut.

    Not all of it, no. The ’81 version recuts the more violent scenes using either alternate angles or simply eliminating the graphic stuff altogether — for eample, Macro’s execution is shown only in long shot, Caligula’s death is done without the inserts of the stab wounds, and the torture fantasy is completely cut. Note that this is not the same as the R-rated version that came out on DVD9, which (per my understanding) retains most of the violence while losing the explicit sex.

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