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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Is October Over Klady

Foiday Estimates 2017-10-28 at 10.32.35 AM

Jigsaw will not be the lowest opening by a Saw movie, but it will be right there at the bottom where the franchise died out.

What made this Saw movie a Saw for now instead of a Saw for then? I never learned that from the ads, trailers and outdoor. As a non-fan of the series, I didn’t make the leap to realizing this was even a Saw movie until late in the game. Don’t get me wrong… I love some of the imagery of the campaign. But I didn’t get any sense of why I. or anyone needed to see it.

In the passion of youth, the energy and excitement we bring to our work seems natural and as we get older, we feel like we are putting out the same levels of energy and excitement, but really, we’re not. As mature people in our fields, we carry the weight of the past, in positive and negative ways. When the generation of 45+ year-old marketers talk about how “you can’t just throw this stuff in the market and expect it to open” anymore, they have forgotten that they didn’t just throw this stuff into the market back when… it felt like a natural, effortless event. I’m not suggesting that an aging marketer is a weaker marketer, but rather that we all need to keep a check on ourselves as we mature to make sure that we are still finding the raw enthusiasm and hunger for variety that we had as “kids.” Decade after decade, how movies have been sold has changed. And the best marketers have changed as well. But when we think we are going into our old bag of tricks… well, there has never been a generation that couldn’t smell that a mile away.

Thank You For Your Service should have been released in January or February. The most successful movie targeting the stars & stripes audience in October was Flags of Our Fathers, which had the power of Spielberg and Eastwood behind it and opened to $10m and grossed $34m domestic. This film started with Spielberg, who gave the book to Jason Hall when they were working on American Sniper, but he was not there in the end and the film – which isn’t a light romp or a star vehicle – could have opened in October if there was sme big expenditure of energy by the studio… but it feels like it was not expected to do business.

Suburbicon has the earmarks of a movie that a studio could have gotten excited about selling… if the movie had only turned out well. But it didn’t. Another Coens script that wasn’t a Coens movie. And so, the old dump-a-roo. Another problem is that Matt Damon, for most of the movie, gives a performance not so different in tone from his performance in the vastly superior Downsizing, which is from director Alexander Payne, who gave Clooney his last great leading role in The Descendants (meaning most recent, not last ever). This seems to be just timing and coincidence, as Damon has greater range than this. It’s unfortunate for Paramount to have two films with the same lead within two months and for them not to be wildly distinct from one another. It’s better for Downsizing that Suburbicon just disappears quickly… not that anyone intended that to be the case.

As for the marketing… it was murky. Trying not to give away the turn to darkness in the film meant not really exploiting in the schizophrenia of the tones in the movie. This also was true, unfortunately, of the movie.

Nice open for The Square on four.

Bring on the God of Thunder.

17 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Is October Over Klady”

  1. Christian says:

    “Novitiate” deserves a larger sampling than it’s getting.

  2. Bender says:

    The most horrifying thing at my showing of Jigsaw yesterday afternoon was having to endure the red band trailer of ‘The House’. What the hell was that doing there?!? It showed the whole scene where Ferell cuts that guys finger off…ugh. I wonder if they thought the gore would prompt people to rent The House from the

  3. Bender says:

    Jigsaw was surprisingly great. Love that great Saw twist at the end, the traps were cool and it looked like the put some cash into this one. I was disappointed in the lack of on screen deaths but that is explained and the final death is a real showstopper. A great new start.

    They could easily do a small one every year for VOD. Id love to see one which is just people and a huge trap and not all the cutting to the parallel story.

  4. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Thor is freaking great, the best Marvel since the first Guardians. The major surprise I had coming out of it is just how much this is Tessa Thompson’s movie. If Feige is as smart as I think he is then hopefully she’ll be signed up for five or six movies. She’s a star.

  5. JS Partisan says:

    This weekend, is about Stranger Things Season 2. Thor didn’t open this weekend, because Kevin and Co. knew we would all be busy, watching nine episodes of a show, that’s better produced, directed, and acted than almost any movie put in theatres this year.


    Oh yeah: they did use to just put shit out there, and people would see it. What Hollywood failed to do in this century, is sell the importance of all films at all times, and not just the franchises. You used to be able to throw anything out there, and it might be found. Why? There wasn’t as much content. Now? We have content, and the only films, all the studios sell as important, are their franchises. They can’t even do a solid job, of selling their fucking award films.

    This is a problem, that they can’t remedy… with shit films. They need to up their game, and try to make the best shit. Not the shit that they think they can sell.

  6. Bender says:

    I am a MOVIEGOER. Absolutely no interest in Stranger Things. Couldn’t get through season 1.

    Hell, I saw The Snowman on Thursday. Seeing anything in the theatre is better than watching something on TV.

  7. JS Partisan says:

    Most people are like ME, A MEDIA CONSUMER! So, we watched Stranger Things, because people who watch shit like THE SNOWMAN. Give the studios the wrong fucking idea. Also, I can watch anything, on any screen, at any fucking time. If you have a problem with the screen, then that’s on you. I don’t care.

  8. Pete B says:

    Had a private showing of Happy Death Day on Friday as I guess everybody was at Jigsaw. Fun little film made better by a star turn from Jessica Rothe. She was a blast to watch.

  9. Night Owl says:

    Suburbicon. Huge names on and in the wrong concept, poor reviews, all adds up to no one cares. Disaster. Clooney may be taking a break from directing, whether he wants to or not.

    All I see is You is that Blake Lively movie right? Well that was not a good idea. What a godawful average! And they’re reporting a $30 million budget? WTF?! And after all those headlines about how she changed outfits seven times during press day. Seven! And told all those cute stories about her kids too! Gosh, we are just so ungrateful!…hmmm what were you just saying about marketing and their old bag of tricks?

  10. Bitplaya says:

    Dave do you have a response to this piece that mention san old article you wrote?

    Will you issue a statement or do you stand by the article you wrote back then?

  11. JS Partisan says:

    I will state one thing about the object permanence thing: the way women have been treated in this society, has been close to boiling over for years. Now, thanks to a president who won, that spent years sexually assaulting women. Folks have had efuckingnough.

    That dude can’t be impeached, because his party wants tax cuts for their rich donors too bad. However, we don’t have to stand for any motherfucker, anywhere else, who is a sexual predator, assaulter, or a creepy piece of shit dude. If you want to be a shit to women, either now or in the past, or in the future. Know, that people are coming. Joss Whedon, may have a pass now, but people coming.

    The thing that we should all know now, is that there is a worst story out there. We don’t know who, we don’t know when it happened, but there’s going to be some earth shattering shit coming down the pike, and when it does?

  12. Glamourboy says:

    Holy crap…I just looked up, found and read the blog post that Poland wrote where he goes after the Premiere Mag article about New Line. Reads like he was in someone’s back pocket….I definitely think Poland should respond cause it looks real bad….

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    JS, I didn’t read your third comment much, but thumbs up on the first two; agree wholeheartedly.

  14. David Poland says:

    Got into this Friday night on Twitter, Bitplaya.

    My issues were journalistic. If you read the piece I wrote, it was about the journalism and not the issue of whether or not there really was harassment at New Line. In fact, I specifically state that I don’t disbelieve the accusations. Thus, I don’t think my old piece was being referred to in the indiewire op-ed. which spoke to disbelief.

    I assume you are making that leap because Jeff Wells did so… but his comparison on my piece and Peter Bart’s piece – which did question whether most harassment was falsely claimed – is specious. I have no idea whether Jeff – with his own issues with women – is trying to damage me or whether he is just a lazy thinker. You’ll have to ask him.

    Obviously, it is a very sensitive issue and I should have handled it in a more sensitive way. But my issues with the piece were very much in line with what I still believe, in terms of the journalism. I don’t believe you can write an attack piece making such serious accusations without having at least one key story on record. This is the same standard held at the NYT and New Yorker for their pieces.

    I am glad Liz Manne has now gone public. She (and Premiere) would have had my public and private support then had she done so then. She has my support and 100% belief today.

    I do wish I had done more with what I eventually knew about a number of harassers over these last two decades, including Harvey Weinstein. I feel some guilt.

    And I should have been more focused on the issue of harassment than the questions I had about John Connelly’s journalistic style.

    When Rose McGowan made allusions to her rape, I was the only person I know of who attached it to Harvey Weinstein’s name. It was on Twitter… and no journalist stepped to it.

    For that matter, plenty of people at indiewire and every other outlet of significance knew a lot of these stories. It’s easy to get into all this after others have led the way. After all, Hollywood Reporter refused to publish Kim Masters’ piece on Amazon and Roy Price, which was completely legitimate news, until after the NYT break and the victim going on the record. Where was everyone calling out The Hollywood Reporter, as I did? And why doesn’t anyone seem upset when THR now tries to position itself as a leader on this story? For that matter, Penske pays and publishes Peter Bart still.

    That may seem like deflection, but it is the fact.

    Truth is, I am still a believer in some parsing about what men are guilty of what offenses. I don’t condone any of the behaviors, but there are differences between one story and the next and as journalists, there is a responsibility to make this clear.

    Having engaged with Glenn Kenny about the piece, it is clear that they were quite frustrated by not being able to get anyone on record. And that I was far too harsh in my tone about the intent of the magazine, both in the brashness of that moment in my work and by John Connelly, who could sometimes be a wild swinger in his work.

    There were more stories at New Line – and elsewhere – that never got told. Even in Liz Manne’s piece this week, she chooses not to disclose the name of her assailant. That is her prerogative. But we all have a long way to go on this issue.

  15. Glamourboy says:

    Wow, what a load of horseshit….instead of going after the heart of the message…an article that finally approached the idea that women were being exploited by New Line, you took the approach to go after the article and the writers….it is a very specific form of taking the focus off of the victims…it was the kind of writing that showed women they couldn’t come forward. This deserves more than just a casual, ‘yeah, wish I coulda handled it better’….you were part of the media that didn’t report what you knew and went after those that did. Shameful.

  16. YancySkancy says:

    The Suburbicon trailer made me think, “Oh boy — another savage take-down of the conformist, white bread, American suburbs of the ’50s; how cutting edge.” Not exactly shocking to learn the Coens’ original draft was written in 1986.

  17. Glamourboy… I believe I said that. Without as much rage.

    My approach was that I was disappointed with the lack of hard facts in the piece and that I felt the piece was written with tone to make up for the lack of reportable facts.

    There were, as Liz Manne notes, women at New Line who dismissed the article. Strong women in positions of some power.

    Time Warner, obviously, knew about the settlements that happened as well.

    The fact that it was 19 years ago doesn’t excuse it. But both the societal and my personal professional situation were quite different.

    Yes, I was part of the 99.99% of the media that didn’t report what we knew. And I have acknowledged that from Day 1 of the NYT running its piece.

    Shameful. Yes. I am not ashamed of that piece. I am not happy about it, in perspective. I wish I wasn’t writing like a big swinging dick and had taken the other perspective and the intent of its editors into account. But I knew about the piece before Wells started throwing it around… didn’t disappear it. Could have. I have to live with it.

    There is nothing casual to me about any of this. Not the history. Not the current moment. But judgment is your choice, not my own. I can only offer my personal truth.

The Hot Blog

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What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
Raoul Peck on The Young Karl Marx

“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948