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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Box Office Hell – Nov 16

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29 Responses to “Box Office Hell – Nov 16”

  1. waterbucket says:

    I think Beowulf will do big business. Even my old female English professor is going to see it. It’s funny to imagine her so prim and proper among the rowdy teenage boys in the theater.

  2. brack says:

    Yeah, I think Beowulf’s numbers will be much better than those predictions.

  3. Nicol D says:

    I dunno. I expected this thing to be huge. Like 40 million + opening. Now I’m not so sure.
    I just had lunch with my friend, who is the head animator at a leading animation studio in town and one of his co-workers. I brought the film up thinking they would both be psyched. His department will semi-regularly take off a Friday afternoon to see a new film if it involves new or heavy CG techniques.
    Both of them shrugged at Beowulf. I was suprised and pressed them a bit and both couldn’t even really articulate why, but had little interest.
    Another friend of mine who is a film teacher also had no interest. He thought the animation style was ‘creepy’.
    As for myself, I will definitely see a 3D print of it, but I too am saddened that from a creative POV, they took the pagan angle of the story as opposed to a more balanced approach of the pagan/Christian elements.
    I do not think this will do as well as expected.

  4. David Poland says:

    Nicol – The premise of the religious side is that they are on the edge of a world of Judeo-Christian dominance and this is the last gasp of magical things, like dragons and demons.

  5. Nicol D says:

    Dave,
    Oh, I know. I actually studied Beowulf in school. But what I have read in many places is that the film does not really explore that theme properly and merely has the characters take ‘potshots’ at Christianity or the ‘new faith’. The poem, as written, borrows much of pagan traditions but also does not denegrate the Judeo-Christian influences of the time.
    My impression is the film does not really take this complex view. Obviously I am assuming this based on the reviews that I have read, but if that is right I will not be surprised.

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    Dead-eyes? Uh… no. Oddly constructed chins and cheeks bones? Uh… yes.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I’m confused, I thought you were in Canada or at the very least the East Coast.
    Considering that Polar Express had a pro-spirituality message, and Cast Away could be considered to also, I would be surprised (but not hugely so) if this movie was all Christian-bashing.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and of course I forgot the very pro-spirituality message of Contact and what there is in Forrest Gump, so Zemeckis strikes me as not exactly a limousine atheist.

  9. frankbooth says:

    Complexity? Not at these prices.
    I’m not expecting anything more than really good 3D, which is enough to get me in the theater…this time.

  10. Aris P says:

    If it cracks 30 million, I’ll change my name to Beowulf.

  11. Rob says:

    I have a hunch that Magorium won’t crack $10 million.

  12. Geoff says:

    This film is a real wild card. I know that David has been pretty dead on about the “geek 8.”
    But that has really changed, this year – I really underestimated 300 and Transformers. Those films seemed squarely aimed at the geek crowd, I thought they would not draw any one female or over 35. Yet they both did a “geek 70.”
    I would doubt this could do that much, but who knows? Paramount has been very aggressive with this and there truly has not been a real mass appeal film in months – Bee Movie was aimed at families and American Gangster adults.
    The market is there for a LOTR or Harry Potter type hit – I’m sure Paramount would be happy with a $40 million opening.

  13. scooterzz says:

    i’ll be surprised if ‘beowulf’ cracks thirty……the problem is, there are three audiences…..regular, 3-d and imax 3-d…..and those first two groups are going to walk away telling people it’s a crappy movie while the third group is going to walk away telling people it’a a really, really pretty crappy movie…….once folk realize that if it’s not imax it’s not worth it, i’m thinking this thing will sink like a stone……
    and….am i the only one who thought john malkovich was doing a bad bette davis impersonation throughout this whole movie? just askin’…..

  14. Nicol D says:

    Jeff,
    Robert Zemeckis is one of my favourite directors. Whether or not his films or pro or not “spititual” has nothing to do with it. I only mentioned it in the case of Beowulf because of the nature of the source material itself vs. what many people had written about the film. I am actually looking forward to the film very much. I just hoped it would be as complex as the poem and the history itself.Ihave read the it is not.

  15. Nicol D says:

    Wow! Major typos in that last post. See what four glasses of wine with pizza will do…

  16. brack says:

    “the problem is, there are three audiences…..regular, 3-d and imax 3-d”
    very true, I didn’t think about that as far as estimates. those numbers aren’t too low then.

  17. doug r says:

    The IMAX presentation I saw had a bit of ghost imaging, maybe the recycled glasses are getting worn. The theater also had two well-lit entrances at exactly 180 degrees to my field of view, just outside the frame of the glasses. Very distracting. Grendel….EWWWW!

  18. scooterzz says:

    this might be pedestrian news to some but it was a revelation to me…. if you ask the imax usher for the ‘large’ 3-d glasses that are meant to be worn over existing eyeglasses, you’ll get these ridiculously big glasses that are fairly fresh because not many folk know they have them…..believe me, it really does make a difference …….jus’ sayin’….

  19. Alan Cerny says:

    Nicol, the film doesn’t take potshots at Christianity in my opinion. My perception of the use of Christianity is that the world was moving on from magical things, like Dave said. Also, to me, the subtext was that this was a good thing. Beowulf was a man of his time, but that time was rapidly passing. It never mocks Christianity in the slightest, although at one point a church burns down. I didn’t get an anti-religious vibe from that, though, it was just mostly in the dragon’s way.

  20. scooterzz says:

    alan– i’m not too big on coincidence so when an artist chooses to burn down a church instead of a barn or a bar or a house, i’m inclined to think a statement is being made or an interpretation is being presented…. but that’s just me…

  21. brack says:

    quit “justing,” you!

  22. scooterzz says:

    yeah, it’s getting annoying to me too….i’m trying very hard to not be one of those assholes who believe that everything they type is ‘fact’ just because they type it…..and because of interwebs turnover i keep repeating variations of the imho thing……

  23. Does anyone know the maximum that the movie can earn on IMAX? There’s got to be a ceiling on that thing.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I wasn’t trying to pigeonhole your opinion. Just saying that, based on his last decade+ of films, it would surprise me if Zemeckis was making a movie that was actively critical of spirituality. Maybe he has (and based on how much I didn’t care for Polar Express, maybe a good thing).

  25. anghus says:

    Bewoulf at 9.7 for Friday
    Mr. Magorium at 2.6
    Love in the Time of Cholera at 630,000.00
    ouch

  26. ThriceDamned says:

    Yeah, pretty bad. So what, 24-27m for the weekend. They must have been hoping for more than that.
    I’ve seen the budget for Beowulf touted all over the place as being 75m. Polar Express cost 165m after all, and although they were still developing the technique with PE, I have a hard time believing it cost less than half that this time around.

  27. brack says:

    I read somewhere that Beowulf cost around $150m.

  28. For numbers like that I wonder why they couldn’t have just made it in live action?

  29. jeffmcm says:

    Because for Zemeckis, the whole point is to perfect this motion-capture/3D technology. He could have made it as a conventional movie, but he would rather boost the technology at the same time.

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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