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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 12.40.03 PM

22 Responses to “Friday Estimates”

  1. Movieman says:

    OK, I get it.
    “Morgan” is a dumbed-down version of “Ex Machina” on steroids, but why did literally no one (except me) go and see it yesterday?
    It’s not like it was a stealth opening. The trailers had been running for months, and it opened on 1,500 more screens than Fox’s “The Other Side of the Door” did in March.
    The movie isn’t terrible, the cast is strong, Luke Scott does a reasonably okay job of imitating his dad and the whole thing clocks in at a svelte 86 minutes.
    Freaking weird how some movies simply refuse to even open.

  2. HWK says:

    I don’t get it either. Morgan looks decent and I plan on seeing it this weekend. What happened? The cast is decent, the trailer is solid so why didn’t people go and see it?

  3. Js Partisan says:

    Why didn’t anyone go and see it? It’s a tired, played out genre full of bullshit, Movie. Oh. It’s the evil artificial intelligence/life movie, because artificial intelligence/life has to always be a dick. Yeah. Sure. PASS!

    Enough of this fucking nonsense. Also, too MUCH DAMN MYSTERY BOX! This is FOX, so they can’t sell movies worth a shit anyway, so assuming them to be able to sell this movie. May be a fucking stretch. Nevertheless, glad it failed, because Hollywood needs to stop being so god damn old man afraid about space, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.

    Good on Kubo, for hanging in there.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    BAD MOMS hitting $100 million today is just an incredible accomplishment….getting your first $100 million hit is so elusive for a studio, it’s almost unheard of now, and in the recent past took unbelievably high-profile efforts to get over the hump compared to this. It’s something no other recent upstart…Relativity, Overture, FilmDistrict, CBS, etc, has been able to do. The last 3:

    Weinstein Company-INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, 2009
    Summit Entertainment-TWILIGHT, 2008
    Lionsgate -FAHRENHEIT 9/11, 2004

  5. Sideshow Bill says:

    My daughters and I just saw DON’T BREATHE. It was fun. And when I think back on the 2016 movie year I will think of Black Phillip. I will think of the toaster scene in The Lobster. I will think of the final shot of Green Room. and I will probably think of something that happens in Don’t Breathe. I’m not gonna post a spoiler but it was one of the most revolting and hilarious things I’ve seen in a while. Stephen Lang is a trooper.

  6. Movieman says:

    HWK- Yep, quite a mystery.
    I bet Screen Gems could have easily scored a $10-million or better opening weekend.
    Apparently it’s going to join “We Are Your Friends” (which I loved) and “Rock the Kasbah” (ugh) as one of the worst 2,000+ print breaks in recent memory. “Morgan” is no classic, but it isn’t appreciably worse than, say, “Don’t Breathe” or “Lights Out” either.
    And look at that “Yoga Hosers” opener!
    Wow; I guess “Kevin Smith” is truly, completely, irrevocably over as a brand.

  7. Sideshow Bill says:

    I quit on Smith after I suffered through Tusk. I will never ever ever watch Yoga Hosers.

  8. Pete B. says:

    I went and saw Morgan to a mostly empty house yesterday as well. I don’t think it helped that Yahoo had a blurb on the homepage that spoiled the ending. I usually avoid reviews before films, but that was right there on the homepage without having to click on it.

    Anya Taylor-Joy is fun to watch though. With The Witch, Morgan, and the upcoming Split, I hope she doesn’t become stuck in just Horror.

  9. Geoff says:

    Don’t Breathe was a blast and probably the first true horror film I have seen in a theater in a couple of years….and we need MORE Stephen Lang! He was the best thing about Avatar and would be well-suited to take on more grizzled action roles.

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    Wait someone said comic book movies are tired and played out right? That has to be it.

    Don’t Breathe didn’t do much for me. I didn’t like any of the characters in it so I didn’t find it suspenseful. Lang is OK as long as he isn’t speaking. That dialogue. Yikes. People seem to really like it though, and I’m glad it continues a summer of strong horror box office and I look forward to whatever Alvarez does next. He’s very talented and I like that he wants to forge his own path and develop his own material.

  11. Triple Option says:

    i don’t know how similar they are but when I saw the trailer for Morgan I was thinking Ex Machina. Only Morgan looked like more of a horror movie, which I don’t like, so the odds of me checking out Morgan were already slim.

    I know some people are hyped for Snowden. Thriller/espionage are totally my thing but we’ve already had the documentary and seen/read a couple of interviews. Fine if Stone wants to cover new ground but I don’t want to see a reinterpretation of what was previously presented as facts.

  12. pat says:

    Do you think “Snowden”‘s box office will resemble Zemeckis’ “The Walk”? How soon do moviegoers want to see a new interpretation of th same story?

  13. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Why are Magnificent Seven and Deepwater Horizon opening within a week of each other? I think either one one on their own has the potential to be a breakout hit in start-of-Fall slot that The Martian made it’s own last year. But you can’t help wondering if they will cannibalize each other’s core demographic.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    DEEPWATER HORIZON might be a studio-sinking endeavor, at least for the Summit division of Lionsgate. Budget at over $150 million…yikes.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    I feel that way about Sully Triple Option. Like pretty much everyone else I saw TV coverage of the landing a thousand times, and it feels like that happened a year ago. The movie just doesn’t interest me at all. Having seen the trailer 20 times only enhances that feeling. I’m sure Hanks is great, but I have no desire to see it. Snowden intrigues me more than Sully but I get feeling that way about it.

    No idea that Deepwater Horizon cost that much. Was that the budget from the start? This fall sure has a lot of movies about very recent, much publicized events between Sully, Snowden, and Deepwater Horizon, all opening in a three-week span.

  16. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels completely disinterested in Sully. I agree with Stella’s Boy. It feels like yesterday and a story I already know.

    Am I the only one who would like to see Tom Hanks step back, take a breath and do a comedy for a change? I don’t mean Money Pit 2 but something light and funny, maybe even a bit broad. He’s great in his middle-aged concerned man roles but he can be so much fun. I miss that.

  17. Pete B. says:

    I’ll just be happy to not have to see the trailer for Deepwater Horizon ever again. It’s to the point where I wanna slap someone every time I hear “My Daddy tames the dinosaurs.”

  18. Js Partisan says:

    He might have turned into early 90s Abe Simpson, but I love Eastwood as a director. You team him and Hanks, and I am rather excited for Sully. It seems to be a solid piece of character work, about the shit Sully went through. Which is a lot of damn shit. Again, I live for some Fall cinema.

  19. Triple Option says:

    pat says:Do you think “Snowden”‘s box office will resemble Zemeckis’ “The Walk”? How soon do moviegoers want to see a new interpretation of th same story?

    Probably. Even though there was the award winning doc, I don’t believe the gen public knew too much about it or the guy going across the twin towers. It’s kind of a wonder that a film wasn’t made of it earlier. I’m not even sure how many people saw Citizenzero but I think there’s more of an awareness of some guy who “leaked a buncha top secret govt files.” I don’t know how much objectivity there is to him. Like, I think a lot of people feel about him how people in the media told them to feel about him. I think if there was some daring escape to get to China or Russia, if he had to go all Bourne to get the word out, even if they were against him, people would really go gobble it up. Which, who knows, maybe there was, but it seems to me the biggest part of the story is out and now a part of public knowledge, or people think they know what there is to know, and so it may be why bother. At least, that’s more how I feel. I’d actually like to know more of the detail of what the NSA & CI was/are doing but it doesn’t seem like there’s anything about agents in Caracas intercepting cell phone towers outside of Parliament meetings.

    I don’t know when something is long enough. There’s so much video of every occurrence now it’s hard to tell is the world just so intricately wired or is it that only those stories where there’s footage becomes news. I was actually surprised it took Captain Philips as long as it did to come out. I knew the story of Argo back in the 90s and thought it was going to be made by someone else. I think had it come out in the late 80s it would’ve been fine, although I think the film’s boxoffice and reception was bolstered by the greater understanding people have of the concept of how films get made.

    For Sully, it may be cool just to see how they visualize the flight and splash landing. I got a feeling it’s going to be more like Paths of Glory where the big event happens up front then much of the movie will be the followup investigation & “trial” w/periodic flashbacks to show why key decisions were made wrapped up with some And Justice for All/Scent of a Woman who are you to judge speech. I don’t know if feels too soon or there doesn’t seem to be enough there to make a full movie. The best part we already know. Now if someone was to make a film on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, like say they find wreckage and then theorize how it came to be where it was, I bet people would flock to see it, despite it being so recent.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I hope Snowden is half as entertaining as the NY Times Magazine story on the movie and Oliver Stone. There’s a lot in it I didn’t know about the making of the movie and Snowden’s relationship with Russia. Stone and JGL fought about the dialogue being too preachy. Stone pissed off a lot of people including Greenwald and Poitras (and according to her got a little handsy). I really didn’t know anything about the Russian guy who wrote the novel they bought the rights to in order to get access to Snowden. It’s a great story and I doubt the movie will be as engrossing. Stone is quite a character.

  21. Sideshow Bill says:

    Eastwood loves deconstructing male heroes/archetypes. I imagine that’s how he has focused Sully. I’m still not terribly interested though I’m sure I’ll catch it on cable one day.

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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