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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Space…

Here on the east coast, they have these crazy times for sports… so I’m off to a college football game at 7am L.A. Time and will be back at the computer until about 3p. So keep an eye out for Len’s Friday estimates… or the other ones… and we’ll talk when I get back. All and all, it should be very uninteresting.

25 Responses to “Box Office Space…”

  1. movieman says:

    Saw “Saw IV” yesterday afternoon and the theater was packed with bloodhounds grooving on the geysers of blood, popping entrails and medieval torture devices.
    Not since the “Faces of Death” video series has there been a more nauseating and despicable franchise than the “Saw” progeny.
    As a loyal fan of the late, great “Gilmore Girls,” I’ve got to say that I choked back a tear at the sight of “GG” mainstay Luke (Scott Patterson) reduced to playing a cranky FBI agent on Jigsaw’s trail. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
    I peeked into “Dan in Real Life” and was relieved to see that there were actually some bodies in the seats, though, so all is not lost. Not a great movie–and with many of the same structural problems as Hedges’ “Pieces of April”–but it was nice to see there’s apparently an audience interested in something other than crappola like “Saw” this weekend. I’ve got a hunch that warm-and-fuzzy “Dan” might actually prove to be one of the fall season’s few genuine sleepers.
    And “Gone Baby Gone” had a nice smattering of customers, too, so maybe it IS benefiting from solid w.o.m. Hallelujah.

  2. anghus says:

    saw Darjeeling last night with Hotel Chevalier playing in front and loved it. The theater was about a third full.
    There were so many teenagers there, i couldn’t figure out why. Half of them spent the film on their cell phones and wouldn’t shut the hell up. Theaters on Friday, Sat, Sunday are almost impossible for me to enjoy.
    I think cell phones have ruined the theater going experience for me. I just hate sitting in a crowded theater hearing people yammer on, or the people who think they’re being considerate by not talking but text messaging or checking what time it is every five minutes, the bright screen flashing in the darkness.
    fucking sad.

  3. Andrew says:

    Finally saw Lars yesterday late afternoon in the Valley. Only about eight of us in there, which I guess is not good news for the movie. One lady kept laughing her ass off, but I thought Lars was a sociopath in the making. In fact, if they had put in a scene of him murdering someone and left everything else untouched, it would still add up nicely.

  4. anghus says:

    1. SAW IV LIONS GATE 3,183 14,450,000 4,540 n/a 14,450,000
    2. DAN IN REAL LIFE BVI 1,921 4,176,000 2,174 n/a 4,176,000
    3. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT SONY 2,859 2,235,000 782 -64% 22,850,000
    4. GAME PLAN, THE BVI 3,342 1,843,000 551 -25% 72,646,000
    5. TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED? LIONS GATE 1,897 1,590,000 838 -54% 43,150,000
    6. MICHAEL CLAYTON WARNER BROS. 2,585 1,546,000 598 -31% 25,282,000
    7. GONE BABY GONE MIRAMAX 1,713 1,267,000 740 -35% 8,682,000
    8. COMEBACKS, THE FOX ATOMIC 2,812 1,197,000 426 -43% 7,672,000
    9. WE OWN THE NIGHT SONY 2,402 1,043,000 434 -43% 22,708,000
    10. NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE BVI 564 979,000 1,736 -47% 7,581,000

  5. movieman says:

    Awful–but not surprising considering “Saw IV”‘s bow–drop for “30 Days of Night.” Too bad, since it’s one of the best recent American horror flicks. DVD should prove kinder.
    Nice holds for “GBG” and “MC,” but “Bee Movie” can’t arrive soon enough apparently. The legs demonstrated by Disney’s abysmal “Game Plan” can only be attributed to the fact that it’s had a virtual monopoly on the “family” audience since opening Sept. 28th.
    The Rock’s abomination is so putrid-bad it makes Vin Diesel’s “The Pacifier” look like “Finding Nemo” by comparison.
    No figures for “Darjeeling”‘s expansion?

  6. Andrew says:

    11. Rendition (New Line) – $720,000 – $320 PTA – $5.8M cume
    12. The Heartbreak Kid (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $600,000 – $300 PTA – $33.6M cume
    13. Across the Universe (Sony) – $530,000 – $550 PTA – $17.9M cume
    14. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) – $485,000 – $304 PTA – $12.5M cume
    15. Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $475,000 – $722 PTA – $7.6M cume
    *Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $465,000 – $666 PTA – $4.7M cume

  7. Wrecktum says:

    Will The Game Plan (inexplicably shown on anghus’ list as released by BVI) get close to $100m? Its drops have been incredible.

  8. movieman says:

    Great numbers for “Before the Devil:” let’s see how it performs once it expans to additional markets.
    Wow–those are some dismal opening day numbers for “Rails and Ties” (this weekend’s “Reservation Road”?) and Demme’s Jimmy Carter doc!
    But the Christian marketeers sure did a bang-up job of selling “Bella” to the faithful, didn’t they?
    Not much traction on either “Darjeeling” or “Lars,” I’m afraid. And will somebody please agree with me that WB fumbled “Jesse James” by not opening it on 2,000+ screens in late Sept?
    Brad Pitt’s name could’ve pulled in some opening weekend bucks (particularly after the quasi-surprise success of “3:10 to Yuma” a few weeks earlier).
    At this rate, “JJ” will never even reach $5-million which is remarkable when you consider that “The New World” (an even less “commercial” film with equally love-it-or-hate-it reviews) did better than that two years ago.

  9. brack says:

    I don’t get the cell phone texting complaint. I never notice it. Aren’t you supposed to be looking at the screen and not at your neighbors? You must have amazing peripheral vision.

  10. CloudsWithoutWater says:

    Too bad for Lars, it deserves better. But marketing beyond positive press has been non-existant.
    Good to see Gone Baby Gone with a strong hold, though, so word of mouth may prevent all from being lost there.

  11. themutilator says:

    Blackberries and people texting are ruining the theatre experience for me…and I got the theatres 3 to 4 times a week.
    People talking to each other and talking on the phone are still bothersome but a least you can tell them to shut up.
    While watching Rendition the other day, a guy about 15 rows in front of me continually used his blackberry, lighting up the whole theatre with his bright lit screen, driving me crazy. Its like waving a flashlight around.
    Watching Saw IV yesterday, there was a guy 3 rows back,but still in my peripheral vision, using phone to text and each time he would open his screen, it wouold take away from my concentration.
    I’ve never understood, you pay to see a movie but you cant or wont concentrate on the movie? You need to know whats going on outside the theatre?
    What about the paople that get up 5 or 6 times to take a call. If your phone is so important, why are you in the theatre.
    Sorry for going off, but I when I pay to see a movie, I want to see the movie and not someone’s correspondence. Dont people have any respect for the people around them. Obviously not!!
    While leaving Rendition, I approached the guy and told him that his blackberry was quite distracting. He said “Oh yeah, I know. Sorry” Asshole!

  12. Fishermansfriend says:

    Not all is lost for Lars I don’t think. It can still have a nice leg.
    But yea Best Actor seems most probable now, more than anything else.

  13. brack says:

    I don’t understand, you can see a guy 3 rows behind you in a theater? How is that possible?

  14. themutilator says:

    Easy…sit on the far left or right as I like to (to get away from all the talkers) and have someone in the middle of the theatre use their blackberry. You’ll see it.
    I dont get it, you are pleased that people are using their portable devices during a movie?

  15. anghus says:

    brack, if you can;t see it., maybe you just have shitty vision. be thankful.

  16. brack says:

    I never said I was pleased. I’m not for or against portable devices because it’s very easy to not pay attention to them.
    If you sit in the middle and at a distance where the screen takes up most of your vision, it is next to impossible to see a portable device. Don’t like talkers? Go to a matinee when there’s no one there. Even better if your theater has weekend shows before noon, where you get cheap tickets and rarely many people there. I avoid evening shows like they’re the plague.
    Yeah, I know we shouldn’t have to, but until the theaters take measure to take care of these issues, then nothing is going to change. You’re going to have to change.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    This $14m opening day for Saw IV is:
    (a) A gift from the other studios to Lions Gate who didn’t release any other horror product all month (except Sony, who released a mediocrity);
    (b) An obvious rebuke to everyone who’s been bloodthirsty for the decline of certain kinds of horror films;
    (c) F*&^ing awful and depressing that such a garbage series as the Saw movies can be so incredibly popular.

  18. You people need to leave America. I rarely have cinema experiences like the ones you guys claim to have every week.

  19. movielocke says:

    I see one to two movies a week for the past six to seven years all over LA or the midwest and have never had an experience like some on the internet claim is routine. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last six years that someone has answered a telephone during a movie, and only once I’ve ever noticed a blackberry/textmessaging going on during the film. I sit all over the theatre space, depending on what seating is available, though I prefer between ten and twenty rows back, center.

  20. Ian Sinclair says:

    Paramount are going for Best Picture for BEOWULF and ignoring the Animated category. First Trade ad in HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has FYC’s in every major category except Best Actress: picture, director, actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, set designer, production design constumes score, etc. First ever showing of picture to critics and public will be at premiere on Nov. 5th in IMAX 3D.

  21. Cadavra says:

    Bad behavior in theatres seems more prevalent in L.A. then it does in other cities, due to the lower average IQ of my adopted city. :-(

  22. Wrecktum says:

    Cadavra, you’re insane and insulting. L.A. audiences are typically great. At least in the theaters I go to. I’ve never had one problem in the years and years I’ve been going to movies in L.A. Never.

  23. brack says:

    Take it as a sign that you people who have trouble at the theaters should just give up thinking your experience matters and watch dvds at home. ;-).

  24. Glad to hear other Americans saying they don’t experience that stuff.

  25. Cadavra says:

    Wreck, you must be lucky, then. I’ve made no secret of waiting for a film to die down before I see it, but even special screenings aren’t safe. I once gently shushed a guy sitting behind me; he responded by grabbing my shoulder and telling me he would “fucking kill me” if I did that again.
    The film was HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. The theatre was the Bridges at UCLA.

Box Office

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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