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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

What Is Really The Story On Moneyball?

I don’t have an answer. But I am 98% sure that the simplified line being floated out there that Amy Pascal was either asserting herself or just couldn’t find it in her heart to back the script changes is not the full story.
Financially, Pitt’s success in foreign countries is undeniable… and in Moneyball, he would be playing a major charismatic, chiseled, former athlete. Looking at a $58 million budget for this film, take this into account: Since 1994 – fifteen years – Brad Pitt has been in One movie that didn’t gross $50 million internationally. ONE. He has been in Two movies that grossed less than $100 million worldwide. TWO. And one of them was Snatch, made for under $15 million, grossing $84 million worldwide, a profit before DVD of at least $15 million, probably more.
This leaves ONE financial argument against betting with Pitt… The Assassination of Jesse James, which WB sat on for a year before dumping it domestically, and not releasing it foreign until after the US flop had registered against it, tainting the film everywhere it went.
Add this to the equation… Pitt’s last nine films, starting with Ocean’s Eleven at the end of 2001, have all grossed OVER $100 million in foreign markets alone… with the one exception of Jesse James. And it’s not just Ocean’s movies… it’s Babel ($101m), it’s Burn After Reading ($101m), and its The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($205m). Pitt hasn’t made a single movie that hasn’t done 150% of domestic since The Mexican in 2001.
You have to work long and hard to convince yourself that Brad Pitt playing a charismatic in a $60 million modern era, film is a bad risk. Meet Joe Black was a 3 hour long disaster with Pitt playing a zombie through most of the film and it did $143 million worldwide in 1998 box office dollars… which is the low end of the modern Pitt box office curve.
Thing is… this is, indeed, happening all over town lately. We’re not talking about overinflated comedies from solid box office players who want to time warp or Hawaii themselves into spending more than $100 million… or even $80 million on backlot set comedies. $60 million… Brad Pitt… unusual… but no more so than Burn After Reading ($161m ww).
Add this… Sony eats $15 million to $20 million on the movie if they shut it down. It will never come back to life, most likely, but if it does, not a dollar they spent aside from the book buy will go towards the film itself. If the film did just $160m worldwide, that’s $88 million in rentals against $58m in production and, say, $80 million in marketing. A $50 million shortfall that should more than be made up by DVD and other post-theatricals. But it’s really a $30 million shortfall from where they are today, so the choice to put the movie into “limited turnaround” is a choice to lose money on a project that is all but guaranteed to make money at this budget price.
Using the $20 million already laid out, how low would the worldwide box office have to be for this movie to lose a dollar for the studio? Estimate: about $120 million. $66m bo rentals, $35m post-theatrical, $20m against the film = $121m – $58m production – $63m marketing.
And note again, only 3 times in the last 15 years has a Brad Pitt film failed to top $130m worldwide. One, Snatch, made money. Fight Club, which did only $100 million in 1999, cost slightly more than Moneyball, though marketing was tens of millions lower on average in those days, but probably still lost a little money… not $20 million. The third was the infamous Jesse James.
The Devil’s Frickin’ Own did $140 million ww in 1997 with the most negative wave of media you can imagine!
But again… stupid choices are being made all over town, as they always have. But it is hyper-intense at the moment because studios are cash-strapped, credit-strapped, and under enormous pressure from the parent companies.
What’s the real story at Sony? They made The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 for $100 million. I like the movie (not everyone did) and it may catch up with its cost overseas, but it has a looong way to go. And this weekend, the $60 million Year One, signaled a domestic gross of less than $60 million and a foreign gross of $40 million or less.
So you tell me… is Amy Pascal being a hero and battening down the hatches against out-of-control superstar salaries or is she feeling the heat (Paul Blart seems like decades ago already) and wildly overreacting to a draft she doesn’t like as much as the last one, throwing away a smartly priced movie with one of the planet’s five biggest movie stars?
The irony is that Soderberg & Zaillian have not crafted what they see as “a baseball movie.” Soderbergh’s position on this film is not one like The Good German, a black and white dramatic experiment with another Ocean’s an easy next step for the studio. He said to me, “Moneyball has to work. This one has to work.” What was the context? That this was the opportunity to make a very successful film that would allow him to keep doing his smaller films for a few years until he needed to feed the commercial beast again.
The great lie of Hollywood, at the moment, is that actions are being taken for the best of the studio. The truths are “we can’t afford it,” “our egos won’t allow it,” “we f-ed up the last one and we don’t know if we can really make the next one work,” and “fire him, not me.” And as a result, an entire wave of really interesting, modestly budgeted movies are being dumped while over-budgeted car wrecks are being green lit because they fit the perceived idea of what has been successful.
Do you know that Spanglish made less than Little Nicky worldwide… the biggest fiscal loser of Adam Sandler’s career? Do you know that Jim Brooks is still casting up his next film at Sony?
Now don’t get me wrong… I don’t think Jim Brooks should be kicked out of show business because he made one massive stinker that couldn’t capitalize on a major movie star after so many wonderful and successful films. But if you want to throw stones at Soderbergh for making smaller films, look at the bottom line. Che’ made good money for IFC (and should have made more) and The Girlfriend Experience will make money for Magnolia.
I can’t get into the details of some of the other projects that are being kicked all over town by paranoid execs who either have to pretend they have the money to proceed but just don’t want to or who are so scared of their own shadows that if there isn’t an animated vehicle or guy with a mask in it, they don’t want to know. But those films will soon be The Story of this industry. That is the next wave. “They” haven’t stopped making movies or started making better decisions… they have just returned to their holes in the trees to try to protect the nuts they have and not get eaten by the bear waiting for them outside.
The wet, drooly dream is that somehow, the financial setbacks will lead to more creativity. In this example, as with many others right now, the truth is the opposite.
There are plenty of situations in which saying, “No” to Brad Pitt would be smart and/or perhaps heroic. This is not that moment.

57 Responses to “What Is Really The Story On Moneyball?”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    Whatever happened to “the movie is the movie”? Just because Pitt has a great track record internationally doesn’t mean that this particular project adds up for the studio. Sure, there’s something else going on (a studio doesn’t pull a film’s plug four days before principle photography without a damn good reason) but I don’t see what Pitt’s track record has to do with it. This is Moneyball, not Meet Joe Black or Jesse James.

  2. David Poland says:

    Uh… wreck… it’s a studio.
    The movie is the movie to the audience that will (or won’t) pay for tickets.
    To every studio, every film is a piece of business. Some have more love. Some have less. But they are, each and every one, about the bottom line. If not about that one film’s bottom line, you can be sure it’s about the next film’s bottom line.
    Sony is claiming it would rather throw away $20 million than spend $40 million more and have a Brad Pitt movie. That decision may or may not be a good artistic call. But it’s a shitty business call for sure.
    I want to see the movie too. I don’t expect it to be Meet Joe Black or Jesse James. But those films are the excuses being made as we exchange comments.
    I don’t think a studio is obliged to make a film because I want to see it or because the filmmaker is a genius, has a great screenwriter, and a great story to work with. I am not going to get on the floor and kick my legs and go, “Wah wah wah… I want my movie!” I am going to say, “This is dumb. This is why” and I am going to say in their language, not in my heartfelt voice of movie love, which “they” cannot hear.
    That, my friend, is how they get you. They get you talking all movie lovey and then they can laugh at the argument with the boss who wants them to be fiscally responsible. “Those darn cinephiles… all they want it another Soderbergh art film that won’t make a dime.”

  3. David Poland says:

    “without a damn good reason”
    good by what standard?
    Do believe in Movie Claus?
    I am CHOKING on all the bad reasons that movies aren’t being made lately.

  4. Wrecktum says:

    You said it yourself, Poland. They’re willing to throw away $20 million on this sucker. You think there’s a BAD reason they’re flushing this cash and pissing off A-list talent?

  5. David Poland says:

    Sure do, Wreck.

  6. Wrecktum says:

    I’d love to know what it is when you have more info.

  7. David Poland says:

    And need I mention that the last time we saw a drama quite like this was American Gangster, which was tens of millions over budget a month before production and on which they ate about $10 million, since they rolled most of Denzel’s money into the eventual production.
    If the story here was that Soderbergh delivered a shooting script that took the budget from $58m to $75 million, I would have a different take, as the first big budget leap almost always leads to the next one. That does not seem to be the story.

  8. David Poland says:

    I would be shocked if Brad Grey doesn’t close a deal tonight. Savior publicity is what he needs right now. And if he claims this doesn’t look good to him on paper, everyone in town will continue calling “bullshit” on his “next era.”

  9. scooterzz says:

    i agree this is probably a bad decision but soderbergh was trying to back door this as another of his experiments (like ‘girlfriend experience’) and i got the impression he was pretty aware that this was going to happen….
    the surprise isn’t that it got bounced but that it took so long to get bounced…
    http://www.hollywoodoutbreak.com/2009/04/29/soderbergh-pitt-keep-it-real-with-moneyball/

  10. Wrecktum says:

    Paramount is obviously the right fit for this project and I think Poland’s right that a deal is prolly just a matter of time.

  11. LexG says:

    I read Poland’s full piece and the responses thus far, but I’m not familiar with the subject matter of the project, beyond the descriptions above…
    Is it possible the studio balked because it’s A SPORTS MOVIE, and those don’t do well internationally, especially when the sport is THE AMERICAN pasttime?

  12. Or maybe…just maybe…the common denominator of last-minute shoot cancellations for “The Fountain,” “State of Play” and now “Moneyball” should be given a hard look.

  13. sloanish says:

    It’s not a sports movie, it’s a metrics movie. And it would be pretty ironic if it was the metrics that put it into turnaround.

  14. Drew McW says:

    I’m saying “ding! ding! ding!” to Kris Tapley’s comment above.
    Brad “Cold Feet” Pitt is definitely still a real “open a movie worldwide” movie star. He’s also one of the most disturbingly fickle people in the business. Trying to make it to principle with him attached is like trying to boat a marlin with your bare hands.
    I’ll bet there’s a support group made up of directors he’s burned like this.

  15. Drew McW says:

    That should, of course, be “principal” in the second paragraph.

  16. sloanish says:

    …and while Almost Famous wasn’t canceled, trading Pitt for Crudup was close to a demolition.

  17. leahnz says:

    pitt would’ve sucked the big kumara as russell

  18. LexG says:

    WHOA WHOA WHOA
    Leahnz, are you SERIOUSLY making the point that BRAD MOTHER FUCKING FIGHT CLUB/WHAT’S IN THE BOX/DON’T CONDESCEND TO ME PITT is somehow LESS charismatic than that ACCOUNTANT-IN-ACTOR’S CLOTHING CHARISMA VOID Billy Crudup, who sported a bogus wig and seemed about as ’70s rock as a fucking DENTIST in Almost Bullshit, the most indulgent, lame, cornball, sanitized, precious, cutesy, bullshit fucking movie ever made????
    “We’re not GROUPIES! We’re BAAAAAAAAAAAAND AIDS” = Most EMBARRASSING LINE OF DIALOGUE EVER, Cameron Crowe IS TOO OLD TO ROCK and is like the screenwriting version of that OLD FUCK Rodney Bingenheimer sadsack they made a movie about.
    Crudup is about as exciting on screen as Matthew Modine on downers circa 1989. Why isn’t Crudup working in a dubbing bay marking timecode instead of snoozing up actual movies that people pay to see?

  19. leahnz says:

    i can’t fucking stand brad pitt. he can’t act to save his life, esp. doing drama where i can see him desperately ‘trying to act’ at every turn and use all 3 of his facial expressions.
    weirdly, there are 5 exceptions in which he is priceless (almost all comedic turns to some degree, funnily enough):
    thelma & louise
    kalifornia
    se7en
    true romance
    burn after reading

  20. LexG says:

    PITT IS GOD.
    GOD. Great actor, probably best looking guy ever, best choice of material ever after Cruise, screen legend, perfect life, HE IS THE RULER OF THE FREE WORLD and YOU SHALL booooooooooooooow to him.
    Let me tell you RIGHT NOW that ANYONE who is an actor is there FOR A REASON, because they don’t just let any old dipshit into the club, so for the most part I don’t hate on any actors. There are only bad movies, NOT bad actors, even Billy Crudup is fine and has been in some ok shit, even though he’s kind of a stiff sometimes.
    But Pitt IS LEGEND and there IS no NOT BOWING, there is ONLY BOWING. SPY GAME. BEN BUTTON. FIGHT CLUB. RIVER RUNS. LEGENDS. DEVIL’S OWNAGE (GOOD MOVIE). VAMPIRE FUCK YES. The man is your PERSONAL JESUS and he is a SUPERIOR LIFE FORM to anyone who posts here. BOW to his casual AWESOMENESS in the OCEAN’S movies. BOW to TYLER DURDEN, greatest character ever after Scarface and Dirk Diggler.
    HE IS YOUR SUPREME COMMANDER and SHAMES YOU into the obscurity in whence you lie.
    BOW. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

  21. dietcock says:

    Before he gets slammed, I just want to second Lex’s take on ALMOST FAMOUS. I don’t despise it quite as much as Lex (for me, Crowe’s low point is VANILLA SKY, the most embarrassingly misguided movie ever made), but it REALLY doesn’t hold up. It’s a rock movie for people who don’t really like rock. And the sing-along to “Tiny Dancer” is one of the most cringe-inducing moments in cinematic history….

  22. LexG says:

    Cock-Dizzle:
    FUCK YES. (Though I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Vanilla Sky because it is a Nietschean paean to the glory of all things CRUISE.)
    But Almost Famous is like a Diet Coke, Must-See TV NBC 1.85:1, fuzzy peach flesh tones, sanitized version of all things “rock,” Crowe filtering his probably-interesting formative yesrs through the Sony/Columbia SitcomMaster 2000, blanding it all down so hardcore if they remade it right now, John Krasinski would be in it and it’d live for eternity at CHANDLER BING MASTURBATION PARTIES for polite office temps who live in Pasadena and think THEY are the Pam in Jim and Pam.
    Best thing that ever came out of Almost Famous is that MAD TV skit ALMOST FAMOUS 2, where Fugit’s followup assignment is to follow FRED DURST around, and Durst keeps trying to impress him by breakdancing in hotel rooms on pizza boxes.

  23. leahnz says:

    yeah, no. i can’t fucking stand brad pitt and i’m not alone (and he’s waaay too ‘pretty boy’ for my taste, blech)

  24. LexG says:

    WHOA did you guys see the test footage Soderbergh and Pitt shot for this???? Incredible shit, HUGE mistake passing on this movie.
    Pitt and Soderbergh:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

  25. anghus says:

    Pitt might be fickle, but in these times of unclear financials i would put my chips on his number and spin the wheel. Dave is right. He comes up a winner far more than a loser.
    The problem has become that budgets have shot through the roof in the past decade. People are wiling to spend ungodly sums of money on films that are make or break. Yet a 58 million dollar film with a star who can still provide the numbers in the ancilary markets.
    There aren’t many Shafts left in Hollywood, i.e. the guys who can score 10 times out of 10. But if someone is willing to sink 150 million into Benjamin Button, why not 58 million on Moneyball?
    Not having read the script, i can’t speak about the general appeal. But this one seems like a no brainer.

  26. gradystiles says:

    For those of you who have not read either the book or the script, I’d urge you to before assuming that this is “no brainer.” This is in no way a traditional sports movie. There’s virtually no sports action. And though David describes Beane as a “charismatic, chiseled, former athlete,” that description completely and utterly misses what makes Beane “interesting,” in as much as he is.
    This script is littered with long stretches of interviews with real baseball players and executives, talking straight to the camera in documentary form about Billy Beane and the A’s drafting strategy, style of gameplay, etc. It’s about recognizing inefficiences in the draft, and identifying skill sets that are undervalued in terms of salary structure. Sound fun yet?
    The simple fact that Pitt is in it does not make this a commercial movie.

  27. martin says:

    Sounds like a boring movie. Maybe Soderbergh could have made it entertaining, but baseball itself is like watching paint dry, and take it a step further to the stats of baseball and you couldn’t pay me to see that.

  28. I don’t know what the movie is about, but I’d agree with Lex if it’s really about baseball. As someone who doesn’t live in America I can assure you that nine times outta ten, if your movie is about baseball/american football then nobody outside of America will care. or, at least, not enough to make much of a fiscal difference.
    But Dave’s right about Pitt. He’s remarkably good value. I’m with Leah in not being a fan of his and agree that he’s best in comedy. It’s like he never was able to resign himself to the fact that he’s just not as well-suited to drama. Of course, being nominated for an Oscar for Benjamin Button was very bizarre and will only give him further desire to keep giving those sort of performances when something like Burn After Reading is the best work he’s ever done. :/
    Good to hear Dave mentioning studios deserting movies internationally if they fail to live up to the standards in America. Hell, studios fail internationall all the time when it’s not big budget blockbusters.

  29. Josh Massey says:

    Che made money? Really?

  30. gradystiles says:

    Che made money FOR IFC. That’s the key. They paid virtually nothing for the distribution rights, so it didn’t take much to turn a small profit.

  31. marychan says:

    CHE at least made money for IFC.
    By the way, FIGHT CLUB is actually profitable; Art Linson stated in his 2002 book ‘What Just Happened?’ that FIGHT CLUB generated a $10 million profit.

  32. hcat says:

    “American Gangster, which was tens of millions over budget a month before production and on which they ate about $10 million, since they rolled most of Denzel’s money into the eventual production.”
    American Gangster had already been shelved twice before Ridley picked up the reigns. Denzel was slated to make it with his Training Day director (I just can’t remember that guy’s name) and the budget got too high so they shelved it and tried to make it work cheaper with Cheadle and Terry George. So having a few years of false starts would add quite a bit to the production. What has been spent on Moneyball seems to still be of some value.
    And as far as it being a sports movie, as I understand it, this is more of a business movie. Sort of a Darker, non romantic Jerry Maguire.

  33. mutinyco says:

    I’m pretty sure most baseball movies don’t feature a CGI animated person as one of the main characters…

  34. David Poland says:

    For clarity’s sake… are Drew and Kris suggesting that Brad Pitt shut down the movie in the last week because he didn’t like the new script?

  35. mutinyco says:

    I believe so.
    And I was suggesting it might’ve had something to do with the cartoon character who appears to dramatize the stats process.
    As in, obviously, the material isn’t a typical mainstream baseball picture.

  36. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    To echo Grady’s points-
    “Moneyball” is about how Billy Beane produced winning teams of the EXTREMELY low cost variety in a tiny market, Oakland. These teams were made up of players based on “sabermetrics” which are a different kind of stats. Like, how hard a ball was hit and if like, a gold glove caliber catch was made. Kind of, intangibles of stats.
    Beane has made a career out of mastering these kind of stats and players and then tooting his own horn about it even though he’s never got out of the first round of the playoffs with it (well, maybe once?). He still doesn’t seem to get that you need a superstar with intangible almost super-powers to win anything. But whatever.
    That being said, and not really caring too much about the “inside baseball” aspects of what studios do, if Billy Beane and “Moneyball” was based on winning Yankee/Mets/Red Sox teams, this thing would be shooing currently. No one…NO ONE gives 2 shits about the Oakland A’s, including the people who live here.
    Try to sell a “baseball” movie based on the A’s, that’s not really about baseball at all and then try to make that money overseas. Pfft….no chance. Especially if Pitt did pull out.

  37. SaveFarris says:

    If mutinyco is right and the film was going to star the “Jurassic Park” DNA cartoon as a main character, then they were absolutly right to pull the plug.

  38. Sweet says:

    I think Pitt is extremely overrated and it’s obvious that you don’t have to be Brad Pitt to have good box office. Look at all the upcoming new actors with hits now. Ryan Reynolds just had a smash this weekend. Brad Pitt’s hits are usually because of the cast… Brad Pitt has not had a hiot on his own and the rotten acting he displays is a minus. Watch Troy , meet joe black, and the devils own and then come back and tell me he’s a good actor. He’s not. He was good in two movies and then he was taken to superstar land because of his looks that are now gone.

  39. David: I’m not suggesting that in so many words because I don’t know the facts of the matter. I’m only pointing to a pattern that could potentially lend an amount of insight into this particular matter.

  40. Telemachos says:

    I agree that MONEYBALL would be a challenge to make… but I also think that it could be a great and fun movie, and that Soderberg, Zaillian, and Pitt are as good a chance as many to make that hypothetical film.
    Saying that MONEYBALL is about stats is true, but also not the whole story. There’s a delightful Bad News Bears-ish tone to the whole saga of the A’s as this scrappy cheap underdog that somehow keeps challenging the superpowers of baseball — and the direct events of the book are only about the 2002 season in general (although there’s a lot of back history about how certain stats came about and how sabermetrics started). But really, it’s a collection of character stories about unlikely successes, which is what Hollywood can do and do well: the gang of misfits brought together because of their odd and under-appreciated skills, who succeed despite the establishment telling them they couldn’t.
    And at the center of it all there’s Billy Beane, the moody, profane, sarcastic, charming, and failed player-turned GM, is a role that Pitt could really hit out of the park (pun intended).
    Maybe the budget ballooned, but even given the complexities of the story, I can’t imagine why — with Oscar winners taking charge of the script and direction and one of the biggest stars in the world at the helm — you wouldn’t make this movie… especially if you optioned the book! (Presumably they knew what they were getting into, right?)

  41. Rob says:

    I hope this means that Soderbergh will push up his 3D Cleopatra rock musical with Catherine Zeta-Jones. That thing sounds so crazy it pretty much has to be brilliant, plus it’s a crime that CZJ hasn’t done a musical since Chicago.

  42. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Anything with a sports theme doesn’t work unless there’s a non-sports hook. “Bend It Like Beckham” was originally handled in the US as a Girl Power movie in arthouses. When “Pirates of the Caribbean” made Keira Knightley a star “Beckham” got a mainstream release as a Knightley vehicle.
    “Moneyball” as a baseball movie alone would work only in North America, Latin America, Japan, South Korea and maybe Australia.

  43. christian says:

    Crudup is perfect in ALMOST FAMOUS and despite Lex’s plea that Crowe make a movie about Fred Durst or some other dead in the water 90′s lame-o acts, the film is based on Crowe’s actual experience. He wasn’t the one doing rails in orgies, and I love the script’s living in an album cover warmth. And anymore with the Hoffman OWNING Lester Bangs…

  44. christian says:

    “anything with the Hoffman”

  45. montrealkid says:

    Am I the only one who sees this as Amy Pascal reacting after the shakeup at Paramount? She knew all along what the film was – a baseball film, partially animated, with a funky narrative directed by Steven Soderbergh. Even with Brad Pitt in the lead, there is no way this was ever going to break even at the BO. I think this is Pascal doing a classic case of “covering-her-ass” and making sure this project didn’t come back to bite her.

  46. montrealkid says:

    Oh yeah, DP, while Brad Pitt may do well internationally, baseball traditionally don’t, and this film is less about baseball than it is about statistics. It’s international prospects were dodgy at best.

  47. montrealkid says:

    Oh yeah, DP, while Brad Pitt may do well internationally, baseball films traditionally don’t, and this film is less about baseball than it is about statistics. It’s international prospects were dodgy at best.

  48. Eric Walker says:

    Though I have (or had) a bit interview in the movie, I am not privy to its script. But I suggest that those criticizing it as an abstruse statistics-based “baseball movie” consider the underlying story:
    Young amateur ballplayer is highly touted as the next big superstar, but as a pro he fails, miserably, confounding both the experts and himself. Instead of running away from the game–as so many in his position had done–he quits as a player, then modestly knocks on the back door and enters management at the lowest levels. By dint of perseverance, force of character, cunning, and innovation, he works himself up to one of the most powerful and influential men in the game. This is a “baseball movie”?
    The sport involved scarcely matters, nor the methodologies by which his progress is attained. No script writer, making it up from whole cloth, could come up with a much more engaging story line.

  49. martin says:

    I dunno, still sounds pretty boring.

  50. Pete Smirkwell says:

    What crosses my mind most when I read all this is how the Hollywood memoir is likely to change significantly in the future. Aside from the intimate personal/family matters, when you read recent books from the likes of Robert Evans, Joe Esterhaus, or Art Linson, their primary discussion topics are dealing with box office, industry colleagues, and the press. Ms. Pascal’ll have a whole different animal to tame when/if she ever writes of her show-biz career, on account (thankfully, in my opinion) of those like our Hot Blogger — savvy, gutsy types who are opinionated but nevertheless ready with some genuine facts and figures.
    My dream (not that it’s likely to materialize), is that come retirement, today’s movie titans will write life stories that will speak not only to all the supposed distortions put forth by the common print and broadcast media, but also to pieces like this one, which cites some impossible-to-ignore facts (all quite on the record), as well as a lot of math that seems very unfuzzy.
    Watch for it on Amazon some time in 2030: Amy Pascal’s riotous reflections as a top movie mogul, “You’ll Never Eat Lunch With Brad Pitt Again.” (I’m jumping to chapter fourteen: “Dropping the Moneyball.”)

  51. IOIOIOI says:

    The scuttling of this movie is just stupid. It just is. Oh yeah KC: Australia is supposedly slowly turning into a baseball country. They have done test. Nevertheless, it’s not like BASEBALL is just an AMERICAN GAME. It plays well in Asia and Latin America. So it’s not like this movie would not make a few sheckles. Shutting it down just seems so… chicken shit.

  52. Wrecktum says:

    Australia will become a baseball country in about 300 years, after cricket, rugby and Aussie-rules football are banned by our alien overlords.

  53. I love baseball. Wish it were bigger here. Plus baseball tends to make better movies than, say, gridiron. But I’d have more success getting people to watch Soderbergh’s Bubble than “a baseball movie.”
    IO, it’s not so much that it’s an American game, but more to do with whether it is a solely American STORY. Also look to “urban” films for more examples.

  54. LexG says:

    Everyone who’s ever been awesome from Australia packed up and moved to America.
    AMERICA #1. BOW TO AMERICA.

  55. christian says:

    Tell that to George Miller.

  56. westpilton says:

    Everyone who says this isn’t really a baseball movie is missing the point. There is no way to sell this other than as a baseball movie. What are your other options? A statistics movie? Lower to upper management? People in other countries will see the baseball in the preview and that will be that. Pitt does draw international box office (probably because the dubbing or the subtitles mask how shit the acting is), but only in the right vehicles, and this isn’t one of them.

  57. SarahN says:

    Amy’s just screwed. She didn’t think this through and had no idea that MLB had to sign off on the script..she was thinking she could kick Soderbergh to the curb, keep Brad and just shoot Zaillian’s script with a hack in the director’s chair instead? wrong. Zaillian’s script was never approved..only Soderbergh’s was by MLB. MLB has made a statement on espn.com to confirm. She’s had nothing but bombs this year..(except Mall Cop Paul Blart..whatev) now she’s just going to eat the 10 + million already spent on this movie? Soderbergh got the budget down by 14 million to 57 for her..so what..Pitt won’t do it now..so now she’s willing to try and find someone else to star…so a 57 million BradPittBaseball movie was too risky..but a 45 million baseball movie (with an unknown? or someone cheap?) makes more sense? but she still has to eat this 14 million before she would make anything on the cheaper version with worse director, worse script and no movie star

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Julian Schnabel: Years ago, I was down there with my cousin’s wife Corky. She was wild — she wore makeup on her legs, and she had a streak in her hair like Yvonne De Carlo in “The Munsters.” She liked to paint. I had overalls on with just a T-shirt and looked like whatever. We were trying to buy a bunch of supplies with my cousin Jesse’s credit card. They looked at the credit card, and then they looked at us and thought maybe we stole the card, so they called Jesse up. He was a doctor who became the head of trauma at St. Vincent’s. They said, “There’s somebody here with this credit card and we want to know if it belongs to you.”

He said, “Well, does the woman have dyed blonde hair and fake eyelashes and look like she stepped out of the backstage of some kind of silent movie, and is she with some guy who has wild hair and is kind of dressed like a bum?”

“Yeah, that’s them.”

“Yeah, that’s my cousin and my wife. It’s okay, they can charge it on my card.”
~ Julian Schnabel Remembers NYC’s Now-Shuttered Pearl Paint

MB Cool. I was really interested in the aerial photography from Enter the Void and how one could understand that conceptually as a POV, while in fact it’s more of an objective view of the city where the story takes place. So it’s an objective and subjective camera at the same time. I know that you’re interested in Kubrick. We’ve talked about that in the past because it’s something that you and I have in common—

GN You’re obsessed with Kubrick, too.

MB Does he still occupy your mind or was he more of an early influence?

GN He was more of an early influence. Kubrick has been my idol my whole life, my own “god.” I was six or seven years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I never felt such cinematic ecstasy. Maybe that’s what brought me to direct movies, to try to compete with that “wizard of Oz” behind the film. So then, years later, I tried to do something in that direction, like many other directors tried to do their own, you know, homage or remake or parody or whatever of 2001. I don’t know if you ever had that movie in mind for your own projects. But in my case, I don’t think about 2001 anymore now. That film was my first “trip” ever. And then I tried my best to reproduce on screen what some drug trips are like. But it’s very hard. For sure, moving images are a better medium than words, but it’s still very far from the real experience. I read that Kubrick said about Lynch’s Eraserhead, that he wished he had made that movie because it was the film he had seen that came closest to the language of nightmares.

Matthew Barney and Gaspar Noé