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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Box Office Hell

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9 Responses to “Box Office Hell”

  1. waterbucket says:

    I don’t understand how anyone would ever predict a number like 22.8 or 5.9. Why don’t they just round up or down? It’s not like their margin of error is very small. Each week, they’re all off by at least a couple mil.

  2. IOIOIOI says:

    Water; I reckon it has to do with averages based off of other films as well as the time of year among other factours. It may be a duck shoot, but it’s not like they are not aided by some quanitative data. Also… it’s cooler to go with 12.9 then 13 million. Do not ask me why. It just is.

  3. EDouglas says:

    I’m not sure why it matters to you so much, waterbucket. There are a lot of factors that go into my predictions and one of them is that… seriously, when has a movie ever made exactly $22,000,000 or $12,000,000? Almost never. And I’ll tell you the same thing that someone told me before I started doing the weekend predictions every week (which I might add, continue to be the first predictions posted by anyone every single week)… if you think you can do better, you’re welcome to try. Predicting weekend box office is often a thankless gig where no one ever says anything when you’re dead-on yet everyone is always jumping on you whenever they disagree.

  4. waterbucket says:

    I’m not belittling your job of box office predicting at all. Because I wouldn’t know what the hell the formula should be to do it and frankly, I don’t really worry that much about how rich the studios will be this year.
    My complaint is regarding the mathematical presentation of the predictions. Of course no film will gross exactly 22 mil just like no candidate will win exactly with 52% of the vote and the number of candy in a jar at the fair is never exactly 180. But when you make predictions with such large margins of error, you can’t present it like Present Bush has an approval rating 44.34 plus or minus 4%. It doesn’t make any sense. And since everybody is likely to be off by at least a couple of mil for the top movies at the box office, they should all round up their predictions since a 0.1 mil in the prediction doesn’t matter if the margin of error is as large as 3 or 4 mil.

  5. Cadavra says:

    You might as well ask why gas is $2.89 and 9/10th instead of simply $2.90.

  6. waterbucket says:

    That doesn’t make any sense. If you want to argue statistics then at least show some effort.

  7. Cadavra says:

    Ummm…I was agreeing with you.

  8. waterbucket says:

    Ok….thanks? =)

  9. You could say that more films have grossed $12.4 mil than $12mil exactly so why not?

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~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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