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2 Key Issues From Disney’s Q3 Fiscal Announcement

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Neither has anything to do with their making or not making financial projections.

1. The only thing really left from the 20th Century Fox studio that was operating for 84 years as a major is Fox Searchlight.

Aside from the indie arm, basically Disney purchased a big library (including IP rights), some cable positions, and a controlling position in Hulu. Yes, they have kept some of the Fox people and fired their Disney counterparts instead. Yes, Emma Watts is of value. And yes, they recover some IP segments they wanted (already noted).

But basically, they have Icahn-ed the shit out of Fox.

And the DOJ didn’t blink an eye. A major studio disappeared… and all we got was this lousy feeling of nostalgia.

2. Disney just slowed down the transition to streaming. A lot.

What went unsaid in today’s quarterly is that the integration of Fox into the digital future of Disney, which is the primary reason Disney moved on the Century City studio, is not going to happen in a hurry. There was an offering of Hulu pricing, but no real content pitch. The next quarterly will coincide with the launch of Disney+. No doubt, when Hulu get serious, it will be part of a price expansion by the company.

The studio dropped the ad-supported version of Hulu to $5.99, down $2 a month, in February of this year. Their announced price for Disney+ is $6.99. So, essentially, you get ESPN+ (normally $4.99 a la carte) for just 1 penny in the bundle announced today.

Why?

Because they are pushing for market share, not for as much revenue as possible, at this time.

Netflix is $8.99, $12.99 or $15.99. So in 2 of 3 situations, the full Disney package is the same cost or less than Netflix.

Netflix should have raised prices, but they also got pushed by Disney, as the “normal cost of streamers” will now be set at $13 for everyone. So expect WarnerMedia to follow suit and lower the cost of their streaming package from the previously announced $16-$17 a month.

But also expect the WarnerMedia offering to be less good at the lower price.

Comcast set their number at $12. Expect it to move to $12.99.

Bur back to Disney…

All of this suggests a strategy that is about withholding a good amount of content, looking to add clear value as these prices rise. And this will become the strategy that everyone starts following, at least for a while.

That means that Hulu will not be changing dramatically when Disney+ launches in November. (Dear Lord, I hope the change the interface.) I’m sure there will be some titles from the Fox library to spruce things up. But the library is more than 4500 titles deep. There is no question that there is a strong demand from film lovers (and some lovers of film junk) for most of that library. Some is tied up past this November in different ways, no question. But while I had hoped that Disney would load up Hulu with at least 1000 Fox titles, my guess is that they will now keep it around a few hundred.

Disney knows, as any smart company would, that once you give it away, people come to expect whatever has been available at whatever price, even if they don’t take advantage of that content. There is a thing about cycling content, which Criterion Channel is doing with its site, but even for the small group of movie lovers that subscribe to that great app, the question of “Why is there a time limit on Ace In The Hole?” strikes many subscribers, even if they have seen the film before and wouldn’t watch it again before it cycles back in. Human nature.

So expect the aforementioned Criterion Channel to remain a separate stream until WarnerMedia decides it can make it a $3 a month premium option with the overall service. And look for a fuller TCM service than they start with to make that $5 a month. Less than the $9.99 a month now charged, but a significant premium as part of a monthly stream.

Expect Disney to make a significant Fox package to add to the existing Hulu package by November 2020.

Look for UniversalNBC to start accumulating data to figure out how to move forward with their streaming package, still anxious about promoting cable/satellite while trying to find a way to add paying subscribers. I predict their eventual product will look the least like what they first launch next year.

And what of Sony and Paramount? That’s another column for another day.

Review: Hobbs & Shaw

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

I have an on-again, off-again relationship with the The Fast & The Furious franchise. I remember seeing the first film in the run, directed by the ever-cinematically flatulent Rob Cohen, 18 years ago in a room somewhere at Universal that I can’t ever remember being in before or since. And it was flawed. But it was fun. And intimate. And weird. And it was great to see in-camera car stunts that we hadn’t seen in a while.

In 2002, Spider-Man launched the CG era of movie franchises, though the work seems primitive these near-two-decades later. It was truly revolutionary at the time.

But The Fast & The Furious was about real cars and real people (ha!) and the grit of it all. So 2 Fast 2 Furious stayed in that pocket. And when things went a little sideways and they headed to Asia for The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, the emphasis was still on what could be done in-camera (as was true of the other car action landmark of that period, The Bourne Supremacy).

Things changed with the Justin Lin era, starting with 2009’s Fast & Furious, which played it kinda close to the vest on the CG until it rolled a flaming gas truck over some cars. Fast Five and The Giant Safe that did things that are impossible in real life. Fast & Furious 6 went all the way down the CG rabbit hole. Furious 7 chased. Rinse, repeat.

As the F&F8 train smashed into theaters in the summer of 2017, David Leitch was going over the top with Atomic Blonde before taking over the Deadpool franchise from Tim Miller (whose Terminator reboot is due later this year) on his way to this spin-off from the F&F franchise, which leans heavily on Deadpool 2 as Leitch and Drew Pearce and Dwayne Johnson seem to want to lean into the silly, edgy, more R-rated tone, while being checked by F&F veteran writer Chris Morgan.

I think it worked.

There is too much movie here. No question. Two hours and fifteen minutes is just unnecessary. At some point, it all gets a bit blurry and repetitive.

But don’t touch the 7 or 8 minutes of cameos, please. They are silly and fun and smart.

There is a bit of the F&F problem of stunts in cities getting so elaborate that the reality that they are taking place in a real city gets lost. Guys like Dick Donner used to fix this kind of problem with recurring street characters who seemed meaningless until we saw them the third time when something crazy was going on. The intensity was heightened by them as much as by the stunts.

Some of the clearly CGed stunt effects with Idris Elba, however, are magnificent and better than we have ever seen before… however unrealistic.

This is a giant, dark cartoon. It’s a boy movie with two differently attractive men and a hot blonde and a superhero villain that almost out-watts them all combined. The stunts are huge. These four characters are compelling. But the story really, really tries to be complex enough to put us to sleep in between.

The storyline has a virus that will end all life on earth… but this line seems almost boring in context. Why not ramp it up a bit? Personally, I am sick to death of “we can save the world if only we kill most of the population.” This has become the Nazi-fighting of this decade of action filmmaking. Yawn!

There is the classic role of The Professor, here handled by Eddie Marsan, but somehow, he doesn’t get to chew the scenery enough. He seems realistic in this story of insane size. Marsan can rip up some scenery. Give the man a giant kink. Give him another layer of conscience. Something! Make it happen!

Leitch and Company don’t quite trust the “no guns… all family” bit when they end up in Samoa. And that’s a shame. There’s only so long you can sustain bat-to-bat combat, but it is the kind of compelling idea that makes movies great. In years past, Mama would be hitting someone in the head with a pot lid before going back to stirring her stew. And that would be a bit gross in 2019, yes. But instead of just avoiding it, find a modern-thinking alternative. Use the old racist tendencies against the new bad guys.

But I didn’t sit at the keypad to rip this movie. The stars are always fun to watch and they are fun together. Elba gets all serious when he is being reloaded with power, but most of the time, he is the Coyote to their Roadrunner… oh so close, but never quite close enough and he doesn’t go campy with it, but has some fun (which we share). Vanessa Kirby is attractive and believable kicking ass and outthinking her male counterparts, though she, like Marsan, could have used a few more colors.

I enjoyed the fights. I enjoyed the broken glass. I was good with the car stunts. And helicopter stunts.

And mostly, I enjoyed the tone. There was an element of the spoofs of Bond, like In Like Flint, but done with the highest end stunts and explosions. Great. If you had teamed James Coburn with Charles Bronson way back when, this would have been the kind of movie you might get.

But it would be 100 minutes long.

And it would have been great fun… but not as great as this movie almost is.

It’s the second-best action movie of the summer, after Spider-Man: Far From Home. And what keeps it from being an instant classic for which we would clamor for a half-dozen sequels instantly is that it won’t let the motor completely loose. Men in Black International and Godzilla: King of The Monsters and, in an odd way, The Lion King all suffered from the same problem. The pieces were there, but somehow, the will to rebirth was restrained.

Ya gotta break some eggs if you want to make an omelet. And while the CG spends get bigger and bigger and bigger, it’s time for studios to wake up and realize that it was never the CG we showed up to watch. It’s a great addition. And in the case of comic book movies, the CG was required to make the unreality of comics come to life so we lose our resistance to looking at what is clearly impossible. But it is a tool used in the kitchen, not the meal.

What is frustrating about Calvin & Hobbs or whatever it’s called (what a horrible, unmemorable title) is that they seemed to get the joke. Big time. The 30 minutes of loosey-goosey silly joyous macho gay-subtext sexually frustrated madness was exactly what I wanted it to be (well… “exactly” is perhaps too much). But they (the collective filmmaking “they”) get the joke. But then they go back to the same old stuff that made me see and forget the last few F&F entries.

I liked. I want to love. And unrequited love is a sad thing.

D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place / Barry

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

The Act, Joey King

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Review: Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood (spoilers)

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

I’ve seen Quentin Tarantino’s 9th Film, Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood three times so far. I usually watch his films twice before writing, checking my most intense reactions against a second view. This time, I must admit that I have been trying to connect to a clearer reaction and I still am.

The easy stuff seems easy. DiCaprio and Pitt are both skilled actors and iconic movie stars and this is on display in all kinds of ways. Pitt, in some ways, recreates the spirit what is perhaps his most beloved character, Floyd of the Tarantino-written True Romance, about a decade older and living 25 years earlier in American history. He’s still a natural couch surfer and stoner. He is still indestructible through the power of his personality. But he also has been weaponized by a war and a miserable marriage. Unlike Rick, Cliff doesn’t seem to actually be a bigot. But he is wary. He embodies many of the ideals of white male strength with which a child of World War II would have been raised, the prime exception being success.

Rick is a mirror reflection of Cliff, as their roles as actor and stunt double would suggest. He has not been weaponized. He is soft. And he has magic… but he works incredibly hard to prove it, somehow so ashamed by the ease of it that he can’t relax into its pleasures. What Cliff can do with his bare hands and his well-trained dog, Rick needs a flame thrower to not quite match. He is the successful but aggrieved by the coming future that he has no control over.

2488029 - ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Speaking of The Dog… this too is a doppelgänger match between dog and master. Cliff has been tamed, to a degree. But like his dog, Brandy, he is able to deliver lethal, perfect violence on demand in an instant.

And this is why Once Upon A Time … is hard to dismiss as an empty vessel for Quentin’s kitsch obsessions. Just setting up the foundations of the two leads and the dog requires three full paragraphs.

The third major character in this film is Sharon Tate. Margot Robbie’s performance of pure, seemingly unconsidered sunlight is the best of the film. Yes, it is nearly a silent role. But it is critically so. Lovingly so. She isn’t playing dumb. But she isn’t showing herself to be particularly smart. She just is. There isn’t a moment without a light coming from her eyes and literally a rhythmic bounce in her step, whether music is playing or not.

The fourth major character is The Manson Family. All of it. But mostly, the women/girls. Charles is barely a part of the movie, except as a threatening idea. And with the women/girls of Manson comes the question of whether they are meant to be a flip side to the Sharon Tate character, as Rick is to Cliff. They share her youth and some of her exuberance. When we meet them, they are singing a camp song in unison. But while Tate is wanted and desired endlessly, these young women have had to find a place to feel at peace with themselves.

The great question around the film is how this all fits together.

The real-life murder of Tate and the rest (barely footnotes in the film) symbolize an end of the hope and love of the 60s era to many people. In the fictionalized narrative of this film, the focus of this element seems to be on the women, not the men. The young and aggrieved women are on their way to kill the hope and love that they were not so lucky to obtain as a matter of fate.

There really is no explanation in the film why the group, led by a weak, fearful boy in Fictionalized Tex Watson, veers off to Rick’s house instead of the house they were sent to by Manson. It could just be a mistake. He could be wanting revenge for the humiliation of being sent away by “Jake Cahill.” The plan could be to kill Cahill and then head up the hill to kill the residents of the Tate/Polanski residence. There is no yellow Cadillac to suggest that Tex or the women/girls recognize that Cliff, who “escaped” Tex’s threat of gun violence at The Spawn Ranch might be there. The audience just isn’t told why.

(I am writing off the illogic that Cliff somehow returns to the house without seeing the car full of Mansonians or the trio walking up the hill to Rick’s house. But I would not be shocked to find out that this and the lack of an explanation of the diversion by the Manson Trio were lost in an edit, things that could have slowed the pace and/or been too clear for QT’s tastes at that point.)

But there is no question that the violent, male machismo of the late Greatest Generation, stops the incursion of the grievance part of hippiedom on the hope and love part of hippiedom. And for no other reason but its own survival.

But what does that mean? Is it meaningful or is it just Tarantino fantasizing and amusing himself (and audiences)?

Of course, Rick gets to be the hero of the erasure of the Manson threat, just moments after Cliff is carted off in the ambulance, having basically taken on all three of the attackers. Rick thinks of himself as a key participant, as he fried a young lady who may well have already been mortally wounded by Cliff and Brandy.

There are dozens of other doppelganger moments in the film. There is the repetition of “I never had a chance,” which is spoken by Steve McQueen about having a relationship with Sharon Tate and by Rick about almost maybe getting the role in The Great Escape that transformed McQueen a couple years after Wanted: Dead or Alive, which seems to be the reference for Rick’s TV series in the film, Bounty Law, that Rick leaves for a failed film career.

We open with a look at Bounty Law, but the actual start of the movie is after the show is gone and Rick’s movie career has stalled out. So is Rick a winner or a loser? Are we meant to think that the offer by Pacino’s Marvin Schwarzs is a good sign or a bad sign, given that we in the audience know that the spaghetti westerns propelled Clint Eastwood to his run with Don Siegal that made him a full-on movie star? Even at the end of the movie, Rick has made 4 films in 6 months in Italy, but sees it as the end of his road.

Rick tells the young actress, Trudi, the story of his western novel, which is pretty precisely the story of Cliff, though he thinks it is his own story. This is made more evident late in the movie when Cliff takes a knife to the hip, which will surely not kill him, but will likely slow him down from the physical skills he shows (especially getting to the roof of Rick’s house).

Pitt is a too-good-looking-to-be-a-stuntman stuntman while Kurt Russell is too… but Kurt’s character still has the wife who keeps his manhood in a sack hanging from her belt.

Jay Underwood and Roman Polanski are Sharon Tate’s doppelganger short, handsome waif men.

James Stacy, who is a real actor (played here by Timothy Olyphant), whose real series, Lancer, was piloted around the time of the movie’s timeline and actually directed by Sam Wanamaker aspires to what Rick has achieved. And in historic fact, Lancer ran 51 episodes before Stacy became a perennial bit TV player. So he got what Rick had then unlike Rick, never took a next step of significance.

We don’t know at the end of Once Upon A Time …  whether Rick will find his Don Siegel or even if Roman Polanski will end up being that to him or if he will still end up selling his house, buying a condo, losing the Italian starlet, and disappearing into obscurity.

We can also wonder whether Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel would have had the successes they had together (Coogan’s Bluff, Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Beguiled, Dirty Harry) had it not been for the Manson family sending the flower power era into a more conservative direction (as has been suggested by Joan Didion and others, leaving your sense of hyperbole to decide).

Like I wrote before… there is plenty of kitsch – and I have barely scratched that surface – but there is other stuff bubbling beneath it which isn’t clear, but is interesting.

And there is the very real possibility that Quentin is just doing what Quentin does… reconsider genres, whether one at a time or a few at a time. Go down the list… the heist movie, the Blaxploitation romance, the chop socky, the grindhouse, the Nazi war movie, the action slave movie, and the Agatha Christie. Of course, they are all twisted up with other genre conceits. The two that are the hardest to categorize (and are not in that list) are Pulp Fiction and Once Upon A Time …, which are both closer to being anthology movies. For me, when I think of directors that are emulated in OUATIH, I think Altman first. QT has none of the specific Altman quirks. But there is a rambling quality and an emphasis on performance that reminds me of Altman.

I haven’t addressed the physical abuse of women in this film and throughout his history. I can’t make an argument against the anger of some about this. Men take a lot of abuse in this film and all the others as well. But Tarantino was created by the heat of an era when women were objectified in much of film by an endless parade of white male directors. I don’t find it misogynistic. Zoe Bell is right. Sharon Tate is a goddess here. One could say that Squeaky Fromme comes off as strong and clear and smart and in control, however ugly her circumstances. So I am not outraged.

I haven’t spoken to the relative silence of the Sharon Tate character because I think the silence performance is brilliant and speaks quite directly to what he was trying to achieve, which was to deify her. She is the only pure thing in the film.

I haven’t mentioned one of the best sequences in the film, which is Rick’s day on Lancer, from his arrival to his encounter with Trudi (amazing child actor turn) to his self-abuse to a true movie star performance in a shitty little western TV show that rises beyond the way it does sometimes and you know a guest star on Law & Order is going to be a star for real. From that section, the audience knows what Rick really is and what he isn’t, no matter how he feels about himself.

And of course, that sequenced is intercut with Cliff at the Spawn Ranch, also showing us everything about who he is.

But discussing how much I like any sequence doesn’t seem to be the point here.

So how do I feel about the movie?

I don’t really have an answer. Still. It sure felt to me like I was building to a statement of believe in writing this piece. But no.

I don’t think it is a masterpiece.

I do think Quentin is a mad cinematic genius.

I don’t seek easy answers from movies, but I am also not expecting chaos from masterpieces unless that is clearly the means to an end.

I do think this is the most complex cinematic experience of the year-to-date from a major studio.

I will see it again. Maybe more than once (making 4).

I could write a whole 1500-word piece about all the things that push me out of the movie. But that doesn‘t seem helpful. Still, they exist.

This is a movie that people who love movies have to see. It will evolve in time. For a lot of people. For me. Maybe for you.

There is so much to chew on and so many blind alleys and misdirections. Perhaps that is just the nature of the beast.

Acid-dipped cigarette, anyone?

State of The Industry: Feb 2019

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

(NOTE: I wrote this back in February and didn’t publish it. Some of it has shown itself to be true already. Some still coming. Some has already become iffy. But here it is…)

The media and Wall Street obsession with “Netflix vs X” is a fallacy.

Netflix is the clear leader in the new paradigm of streaming. However, as more major players enter the streaming space with deep libraries, they will barely be in competition with Netflix, so much as the existing cable and television structure, as that is where the big money is.

In fact, the competitive situation for Netflix will only change significantly when they are dragged into the gravitational force of the new variation of the streaming paradigm that they created.

Netflix landed in the middle of the film and television industry, the industry did not land on Netflix.

Netflix did change the game. But it does not control the game because it just isn’t big enough to do so. And it likely never will be.

Given the most extreme predictions for the happy future of Netflix, the company, as currently designed, maxes out at about $16 billion in annual domestic revenue and about $25 billion overseas with 300 million worldwide subscribers. $41 billion in worldwide revenues is tremendous.

However, Disney has $24 billion annually in a mostly domestic television business today. And even if it can’t make a go of more than one stream channel for the international audience, it can surely match Netflix internationally with a massive advantage in its established brand.

And then, Disney has its film side, which has a symbiotic relationship with the TV and future streaming businesses. And its parks. And a huge merchandising business that can only be enhanced by being in the streaming business in the many nations where the dominant use of the Disney brand consists is illegal knockoffs.

Netflix is already, smartly, angling for differentiation by investing in local production in many languages in many countries, not just relying on American content dubbed or subtitled for other nations. But the details of the battle for The World between all of the streamers is a discussion better held for another article.

My point is, Disney can’t afford to just compete with Netflix. Their ambitions and their current business are significantly bigger than that.

Likewise, AT&T and Comcast, which have even more complicated issues than Disney. They both have existing content delivery businesses that generation roughly $25 billion a year for each corporation. So, as they create streaming platforms that give more reason for consumers to cut the cord, they are cannibalizing their own businesses.

But like Disney, the draw of international – again, trailblazed by Netflix – is so great, they are willing to walk this tightrope for the next decade or so… and to bleed the red ink that will inevitably come with it for a time.

Domestically, the easier play would be to fight exclusively for the territory they already occupy. This is one major reason why these legacy companies have dragged their feet for at least 5 years of the Netflix streaming success, allowing Netflix to establish itself while clearing the path others will now walk. The companies with major studios could just shut Netflix out on the content front, refocus on improving cable and satellite with some streaming access, and not take a dangerous chance.

But the international opportunity gives these legacy companies a chance to double or triple their overall home content operations.

The playing field here is, currently, about $150 billion annually. This is just on content and delivery into homes, not including internet access. Netflix owns about $17 billion of that.

Neither Comcast nor AT&T are anxious to release their $50 billion of that $150 billion. Nor are the smaller cable/satellite MVPDs that total up to a nearly equal amount of the overall revenue. But the industry is now past the point of return. And adjustments for the new paradigm will have to be made.

My personal prediction is that by the end of 2020, AT&T’s DirecTV and Comcast cable and every other MVPD in short order, will offer packages with a cost between $40 and $70 a month via their non-internet infrastructures, seeking to keep their customer bases intact and ready to spend $40 – $70 a month on unique streaming channels (like Netflix, Hulu, Comcast-to-be-named, WarnerMedia streaming, Disney+. etc.)

That $40 – $70 a month is where the OTT battle will rage. And I have every expectation that Netflix will continue to thrive in that environment. But I don’t see them having a lot of room to raise their monthly rates once heavy competition moves (which is likely why they moved to raise prices recently, before the wave).

Disney seems to be angling for a $20+ monthly spend for their 3 streaming networks or at least $15 for any 2. Comcast and WarnerMedia each adds another $11 a month to the bill. So those 4 must-have streamers (inc Netflix) represent $40 – $45 a month. Add another $60 a month or so for a “broadcast” package, either streaming or via MVPD. About $100 a month. Where America lives , on average, with the home entertainment today.

Obviously, the details will vary, as they do now. But consumers want new content, including live programming, as well as the deep wells of the content libraries. There has to be a way to accommodate this. Any expectation that the average family in America will raise their home entertainment spend by 50% or more in the face of new options is foolhardy, at best.

Apple and Amazon probably should be mentioned at this point.

I don’t believe that either company will ever be a major content player. Why? Because it’s not a great business. It’s not their business. And the extended streaming universe will not turn it into a great business.

There are 4 major English-language libraries left to buy. Sony, Paramount/CBS, Lionsgate, and MGM, which is suddenly resurrecting itself yet again. Any one of them or all of them could be purchased by Amazon or Apple as the foundation of a streaming service. Netflix could also be a buyer, giving them a stronger foundation when they start to slow the pace of original production. Or someone with a lot of cash could bring them all together as the 5th major streaming player.

We all could exhaust ourselves speculating about the future of these companies. But it seems futile. They could be 10% of this discussion or as much as 25%. But they are not going to drive the forward motion.

(I believe, strongly, that theatrical revenues will not only continue, but thrive moving forward. The theatrical experience is already the best opportunity to sell individual access at the highest price per person in this industry, aside from the niche of cash-loose disc collectors. In the streaming subscription era, this will be even more pronounced. But this is best left for another article.)

My belief is that Amazon and Apple will both try to be the bundlers of the streaming paradigm. In other words, the creators of the products that make this massive wave of content that is thousands of times too big for anyone to consume but that we will all have access to for a reasonable price, manageable. Or, if you like, the companies that will keep you from having to ask, “Where the hell is Show X streaming, damn it!?”

Amazon and Apple will try out using original content as bait. But I don’t believe their hearts are really into making programming. If they control the new pipe, they can sell you all kinds of stuff within reason.

Meanwhile, the legacy companies heading into the streaming space have very complicated choices to make.

One example, broadly. The NFL. About $6 billion a year in TV revenues. Split between CBS, Fox, ESPN, NBC, DirecTV, and the Thursday Night franchise that includes the NFL Network and Amazon.

DirecTV is the single biggest annual spender, coughing up $1.5 billion for the right to exclusively distribute the CBS/Fox Sunday games out of market. They lose money on this, but it has been considered worth the losses as bait to bring in new customers and keep their legacy customers.

Paying the least per game are Fox and CBS, which serve as the backbone for the league, producing 10-13 games a week, every week. (about $2.1b combined)

ESPN pays almost $2 billion a year for Monday Night Football and NBC gets Sunday Night Football for just under $1 billion a season.

The idea of changing these arrangements is catnip for the whimsical. And the players will move around the board in any contract year. But in a discussion of the streaming future, this one piece of turf involves every player but Netflix & Apple. This is how the NFL likes it. And this works, mostly, for the corporations. Every company is competing aggressively with the others… and every company has its role to play.

That is where we are headed. Not kill the man with the ball. Not Netflix vs The World. There has been a lot of change in the process of consolidation, even before the new massive streamers launch. And everyone is still competing for their wins. But we are seeing the dawn of a new eco-system, not a bunch of punks fighting for a loose dollar that fell out of someone’s pant pocket on the playground. No one company defines it now. No one company will define it in the (near) future.

test sunday

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

truthy 951

By David Poland
Monday, July 15, 2019

HEADER





QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If I ever woke up with a dead hooker in my hotel room, Matt would be the first person I’d call.”
Ben Affleck, about his best buddy, Matt Damon.


HEADER

Friday at Sundance turned out not to be a big festival news day. No films
were picked up. In fact, Sony Pictures Classics made it known that they would
not be purchasing rights to any festival films during the festival — thus
limiting the chances of making hasty decisions. Sony acquisitions reps are
avoiding being caught up in the buying frenzy and after Sundance, plan to step
back from the experience to make clear-headed purchases that best serve the
company.

Screenings were almost all standing room only Friday, especially screenings of
2 by 4, Slam, Frat House, and the latest from Roger & Me‘s Michael Moore, The Big One, which
made its world premiere at Sundance.

The party to be at was thrown by BMI at
the Canyons’ “Bubble.” Cracker performed a loud and raucous set, while Adam
Duritz
of Counting Crows alternated between singing along in the front row and joining the band along with raspy-throated
songster, Joan Osborne.

While screenings continued on Saturday, the real attention turned to Saturday
night’s awards ceremony and party. For the second year in a row, Robert
Redford
was noticably absent from the evening. Always looking fo an excuse to
keep the focus on the filmmakers and off of himself, Redford opted to stay put
in California’s Sonoma wine country where he is editing his upcomming film,

Filmmakers, television camera crews, still photographers, festival staff, and
festival-goers all made their way to Park City’s large racquet club for the
ceremony. Alfre Woodard admitted to being, “Humbled by the quality
and breadth of films in this year’s competition.” The actress and festival
juror then presented the festival’s dramatic grand jury prize to Marc Levin‘s
Slam.

HEADER

The grand jury prize in the documentary competition was split between
The Farm, by Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus, and Frat House, by Todd Phillips
and Andrew Gurland. Phillips showed a bit of his own frat house mentality
during the course of his acceptance speech. After thanking the people that
were pivotal in helping to get his film made, Phillips left the stage by also
thanking Seymour Butts (apparently Phillips may be watching too much of “The Simpsons”).

The Waldo Salt Award for excellence in screenwriting went to High Art‘s Lisa
Cholodenko
. Stunned by the honor, Cholodenko exclaimed to the audience, “I
feel like I should be wearing some Bob Mackie dress.”

The dramatic audience award went to Smoke Signals, while the audience’s choice
for best documentary went to Jeff Dupre‘s Out of the Past. Smoke Signals also
won the filmmaker’s trophy for best drama, while Steve Yeager‘s Divine Trash
was honored as the filmmakers’ favorite documentary.

Other giveaways: the Documentary Directing Award to Moment of Impact
director Julia Loktev; Dramatic Directing Award to Pi‘s Darren
Aronosfsky
; Best Cinematography in a Documentary to Wild Man’s Blues
Tom Hurwitz; Best Cinematography in a Drama to 2 By 4; The Freedom of
Expression Award to The Decline of Western Civilization: Part 3‘s Penelope
Spheeris
; Special Jury Prize for Acting to Miss Monday‘s Andrea Hart; the
Latin Cinema Award to Carlos Marcovich‘s Who The Hell is Juliette?; and
Special Recognition in Short Filmmaking to Debra Granik, director of Snake Feed.

Even though Sunday is officially the final day of the festival, most of Park
City’s temporary guests spend the morning packing away their snow globes and lip balm, making room
for local Utahans to catch screenings of the winning films.








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Numbers in parenthesis indicate January 16-19 weekend box office position.

Box office results for the January 23-25 weekend, 1998.

1. (1) TITANIC

Weekend: $25M Total: $274.4M

2. (new) SPICEWORLD

Weekend: $11M Total: $11M

3. (2) GOOD WILL HUNTING

Weekend: $9.1M Total: $49M

4. (4) AS GOOD AS IT GETS

Weekend: $7.6M Total: $76.6M

5. (3) FALLEN

Weekend: $4.9M Total: $16.9M

6.(7) WAG THE DOG

Weekend: $4.7M Total: $23.8M

7. (5) HARD RAIN

Weekend: $3.7M Total: $12.8M

8.(6) HALF BAKED

Weekend: $3.1M Total: $12M

9. (new) PHANTOMS

Weekend: $3.1M Total: $3.2M

10. (8) TOMORROW NEVER DIES

Weekend: $.3M Total: $115.5M

Source: Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc.









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  • Kate
  • Ving Rhames
  • vintage sneakers
  • Chinese
  • Prozac

  • Gia
  • Jack Lemmon
  • designer sneakers
  • Japanese
  • Viagra











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Monday, January 26, 1998

The Rosie O’Donnell Show
(3:00 p.m. EST — syndicated):
Bill Pullman

NIGHT CRAWLERS

Late Show With David Letterman
(11:35 p.m. EST on CBS):
Farrah Fawcett

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
(11:35 p.m. EST on NBC):
Rupert Everett

Tuesday, January 27, 1998

EARLY BIRDS

Today
(7:00 a.m. EST on NBC):
Elton John

Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee
(9:00 a.m. EST — syndicated):
Farrah Fawcett

NIGHT CRAWLERS

The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show
(11:00 p.m. EST — syndicated):
David Alan Grier

Late Show With David Letterman
(11:35 p.m. EST on CBS):
Robert Duvall

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
(11:35 p.m. EST on NBC):
Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore






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WEEKEND REVIEW

Were there movies out there this weekend? Between the Super Bowl and
Suborning Bill, movies seemed like a low priority for a change. Titanic
made its $25 million. The Spice Girls managed to snap up $11 million
(if anyone out there knows why, please e-mail me). The Good movies
(Will Hunting and As it Gets) did good in third and fourth. Fallen fell
in a pretty standard way. The only newcomer to the Top Ten was
Phantoms with a weak $3.1 million open.

MILESTONES: Titanic passed Jaws’ $260 million domestic gross to become
the 10th most popular film of all time. Jaws, who had to turn down a
cameo in the film due to rust, refused to comment. But a spokesperson
for the mechanical shark rambled on about the box office to production
cost ratio and mentioned that Quentin Tarantino had recently visited
Jaws on the Universal Studio tour and they were hoping to have “good
news” about a comeback in the near future.

MILLSTONES: President Clinton was getting wagged so hard by the tale of him
being a dog that it could snap his presidency. New Line has
decided not to capitalize on the current problems in the White House,
but Iraq has. Saddam Hussein is claiming that he is now expecting an
American assault on Iraq as a Clinton distraction.

ABOVE THE FRAY: Ben Affleck, Phantoms most marketable co-star and Golden
Globe award-winner for co-scripting Miramax’s Good Will Hunting, was not out on the
talk circuit pushing his newer film. Given that Phantoms is from
Miramax division Dimension, that might be internal strategy to keep
Affleck pure for Academy consideration. Or Ben’s head might be too big
to talk sci-fi. Only his publicist knows for sure.

READER QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Marc A, “I don’t doubt Titanic‘s doing
well, but these numbers seem
impossible! I’m waiting to hear that Titanic is healing the sick this
weekend.”

E-MAIL PROMPT: There’s gonna be a Reader Line Of The Day even if I have
to start making them up, so give me a break. Be a part of The Hot
Button
. E-mail me your thoughts on Titanic, the Spice Girls, Pulp
Clinton or on anything else.












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In its fourth year, Slamdance is no longer the new-kid festival at Park City.
Instead, Slamdance has evolved into a viable (and crucial) component of
the Park City festival experience. One new addition to this year’s festival was a screening day for the winners on Friday. Also, the welcome addition of the
filmmakers’ lounge made Slamdance a haven for wary filmmakers looking
for a cup of coffee and some quiet, civilized conversation. The lounge
also featured video screenings throughout the day of short works
including Marina Zenovich‘s hour-long indie doc Independent’s
Day
(a project that started two years ago as a study of Slamdance).

The slate of competition films and special screenings drew sell-out
crowds consistently throughout the week. In addition to the opening-
night party with techno sensation Moby, Slamdance hosted two
other major events at The Underground: The Red Elvises (a Russian
rockabilly band that provided the energetic Six-String Samurai
soundtrack) rocked Park City late into the night at a post-screening
party on Wednesday. The closing-night festivities also proved to be a
good time, as filmmakers, volunteers and audiences celebrated another
successful festival.

The early buzz is that Sundance and the Park City Chamber of Commerce
are attempting to block the return of Slamdance in 1999 by refusing to
issue festival permits. If they are successful in blocking Slamdance
from playing in Park City, everyone loses. At its worst, Slamdance
serves as a constant reminder that Sundance is not the end of the world.
As Slamdance develops its own identity as the place to
discover new talent (all of its competition films are by first-time
directors), Sundance continues to screen works by established directors that already have a distribution deal. At its best, Slamdance
has shown that there are damn good films that should
be seen and that deserve an industry audience. Let’s hope the big kids see it in their hearts to extend a
welcome hand to Slamdance in 1999.








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McBeal’s Baby

HEADER

Everyone seems to be going goo-goo over television’s hottest show, Ally McBeal. But it is not the cutesy Ally who has people talking. Instead, it’s her little buddy — the dancing baby. For complete details on how this whole thing started rolling, go to creator Ron L.’s
Official Dancing Baby Website. Included, of course, is the original dancing baby as well as a link to an unofficial site that features 13 movies of his creation getting down and (in some cases) dirty.










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Who do you think’s been with more women, President Clinton or Saddam Hussein (see The Hot Button)?


President Clinton

Saddam Hussein





Results


This weekend we asked you, “Who do you think’s a better “performer,” Bret Michaels or Tommy Lee?”


64% of you said Bret Michaels.





DP/30Podcast: Free Solo

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Friday Estimates – Felt Falls To GlamAsians

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

Friday Estimates 2018-08-25 at 10.51.34 AM 651

Friday Estimates: Modestly Rich Asians,

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Friday Estimates 081818

Hollywood have given all the love it can give to Crazy Rich Asians, but the movie still has work to do to find a big mainstream audience. There is nothing wrong with a $23 million 3-day or even a $20m 3-day, especially after $8.8 million was siphoned off on Wed/Thurs. But… let’s be adults about this. The film is going to have to find a strong post-release word-of-mouth gear to get close to $100 million domestic. And that is the magic boundary. There is absolutely nothing about the film that makes it less accessible to whites, blacks, middle easterners, eskimos, greeks, etc. It is a 18+ family comedy that every ethnic group will find familiar. But I am afraid that in all the celebration of finally making an “all-Asian” movie at a studio, the studio forgot that they had to tell the rest of the audience why it was relevant to them. And I am not suggesting that the ticket sales were “all-Asian,” either. I am just saying that this movie opened as you might anticipate opening a mid-August studio comedy with some cultural standing. This is the number you would have gotten from a Julie & Julia or an Eat Pray Love. But the buzz around this movie was bigger than those. So you wonder why the 5-day isn’t more like $40 million. I know that some will be upset that anyone rain on the parade. And this opening is by no means bad. But greatness is measured, with a very commercial movie, but its box office as well as the quality and the cultural significance.

I haven’t seen Mile 22. This number is good considering the fairly soft sell and the terrible reviews across the board. On the other hand, if you look at Mark Wahlberg’s recent box office history, his status is dimming a bit when he is not attached to an existing franchise or sequel. He and his people should be taking a hard look at why this is and what they can do. Working with Peter Berg is never a bad idea, especially when the actor connects so well. But they need to find something that just plain wins. He needs his Taken. Or he needs another Scorsese infusion, which the Ridley Scott film was not. He has a great 3rd act waiting to happen. But time for a rebrand.

Good weekend at the art houses. The Wife, We the Animals, Juliet, Naked, Blaze will all do at least $10k on 2 – 4 screens each.

Friday Estimates: Meg Eats, Slender Man Thin, BlacKKKlansman Burns Gently

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Friday Estimates 2018-08-11 at 12.04.25 PM

The Meg will likely be the biggest opener of the summer for Warner Bros, with a number in the low 40s. The most striking thing about this is that WB put out such an unambitious summer slate by their historic standards. They should have a much better fall/holiday run. But even looking at next summer, one wonders if we will ever again see the studio flex all that muscle it used to show off constantly. Still… Crazy Rich Asians next weekend… so it could be a heavy August slate of wins for WB.

Slender Man arrives with a whimper. Will Screen Gems ever develop a strong post-Clint voice?

And BlacKKKlansman has a mixed launch. Strong for Spike and in this 1500-screen range, solid for Focus. But it’s still a $10 million launch focused in all the locations that are expected to be strong for this film. Expansion is not going to change the trajectory. So you can look at it as Spike having a single day that is better than the total grosses of his last 3 films. Or you can look at it as his best opening, with the exception of Inside Man, in the last 15 years. Or you can look at the opening as stronger than a couple of Focus’s other 1500 screen openings, The Ice Harvest and The World’s End, which are both beloved films. Or you can look at it as the Florence Foster Jenkins or Hell or High Water of this summer. Or you could see it as a $25m domestic-grossing disappointment. It’s all about perspective. And this opening allows for many variations in perspective.

Nice single screen opening for Skate Kitchen… which everyone should try to see on a big screen, though it will be a hip movie to watch on phones for many years to come.

Weekend Estimates: Oh Pooh! The Audience That Dumped Them

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-08-05 at 10.55.23 AM

For those who wrote (snicker, snicker) about how the “Wonder Woman weekend” was a lost opportunity earlier this summer, we present The First Weekend Of August. home of 2016’s $134 million opening of Suicide Squad. This first weekend in August, the Top 17 movies grossed $134 million.

Reality is not complex on this issue. There are a few weekends (14 or so) that offer, most often, more opportunity. And there are a few weekends (3 or so) that offer, most often, less opportunity. And then there are about 35 weekends or so in every year that are absolutely neutral.

But even weekends of opportunity offer nothing remotely close to a guarantee. And the same is true of the “dead” weekends.

If it were somehow ready and Captain Marvel was not a piece of the puzzle and Marvel decided to fill the Star Wars hole in December, they could put Avengers 4 on the first weekend of December, forever considered a dead zone, and open the film to $200 million or more.

Avengers: Infinity Wars abandoned “the first weekend of the summer” this year and won… and you can expect them to do it again, though they will wait until January or so to shake out anyone thinking of trying to steal April 26. And like the traditional “best weekend” that was Memorial Day every summer and evolved into “the weekend before Memorial Day” (before being supplanted to the less crowded first weekend of May), “the start of the summer” will become the last week of April for all films moving forward.

This is all loaded down by superstition too. WB will release a horror film on “It Day” this year and sit on the date for It: Chapter 2 in September 2019, leaving completed film in the can for more than 6 months because somehow, they think that the film needs to return to that slot. 100% fear based. The sequel can’t open or total out much better than the original ($124m/$328m), no matter where it is released. But if they move it to the summer, where there is more opportunity, and the film underperforms the original, the studio will be accused of making the mistake of moving it. And if WB leaves it in exactly the same place, at a cost of a few extra million, that complaint is voided. This is not a WB issue. It’s every sequel.

When they move Solo to summer and fail (by SW standards), everyone screams about breaking the release rhythm. But the reality is, they just didn’t do a good job selling the movie and then the movie itself was not what people had been hoping for when they hired Lord & Miller and it flopped. LucasFilm Queen Kathy Kennedy grabbed hold of the double-edged sword. She wasn’t happy with the work by Lord & Miller, right or wrong. But the safe bet would have been to let the movie go on and let everyone blame them if it was bad. So on some level you have to give her credit for making the very hard choice. But the flipside – and not all that unusual – is that she could have let the movie she didn’t love move forward and it could have hit in a way she could not see… and then she could get all the money and take credit. (None of this reflects on Ron Howard, by the way, who came in an did the profession work he was asked to do.)

This is the insanity of the film business. Commitment to deep, true feelings and passions are absolutely in play. But cynical “let’s not stick out neck out too much” is also in play. The “brave” thing can be the wrong thing. And the by-the-book choice can be the right thing. And very few people outside the immediate circle of the film are going to know… including some people who are close enough to know the true stories and still don’t understand what happened.

Using the Solo example, Kennedy took the riskiest path, which she saw as the safest path. 50 people (or fewer) can offer any real opinion about whether her view of the Lord/Miller work was accurate or premature or just wrong. And the “risky” path of just letting it play out as it was going was less risky for her and Star Wars, but also may have led to a triumph that she could not predict st the stage the film was at when she pulled the plug. Taking the path she took has shaken faith in the entire franchise (which is silly) because she went traditional, reshot most of the movie, and still couldn’t get close to the bullseye. Combine that with other Hamlet moments in the production of the re-booted franchise’s first 5 films and there is perceived trouble in River City.

And then there is the biggest safety error when the project was being reconsidered mid-production… a couple scenes with Jabba The Hut and Boba Fett could have been worth 100s of million at the box office. They were expending a ton more money anyway, so why not give up on multiple “Solo” spin-off movies and just give the audience what you know they want? So much safer. But again… Kathy Kennedy took a giant risk and didn’t pander. And audiences kicked her ass as, in some part, a result.

There are a million – almost literally… maybe literally – choices along the road to putting a big movie on the big screen. You can fail at virtually any stop on the chain. And you can overcome failure in virtually any part of the chain with a triumph in another part of the chain. The rules are clear… and utterly irrelevant… and everything. No one knows anything, as The Great Goldman wrote.

Will The Meg explode into theaters next weekend? You can look at tracking and guess. Or you can tell me how it feels.

Whatever they are saying publicly, people at WB are sweating today, wondering if they have done everything they could do to open that film. People love the materials… but will that get them into theaters? If it opens soft, no one will question the date. If it opens better than expected, people will question the date. And that is the eternal conundrum. Both failure and success bring questions that are hard to answer. The only thing that doesn’t is when, as happens a few times a year, something does SO WELL that everyone just bows. Get Out, Wonder Woman, It, Black Panther, being the latest ones. Me? I would argue that those super-sized successes each had a very different path to their super-sizing. There is no group lesson.

But in Hollywood, almost everyone is trying to sell their cow for magic beans.

And really, who can blame them?

This weekend, no magic in the beans. One disaster out of three… but from a company that was just sold and is deeply demoralized.

Nice holds helped along by the soft newcomers.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post topped per-screen numbers… and this next week, the talent will be out selling the weekends to come for FilmRise. An unusual choice. Bold. And how things work in much of the indie promo these days. #NOKA

Friday Estimates: Disney Can’t Quite Open Non-Superhero Pooh, Lionsgate Dumps Spy By Mistake, Fox Goes Dark

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

Friday Est 2018-08-04 at 9.05.21 AM

Weekend Estimates: Mission Succeeds But Doesn’t Blow Up, Titans Go Boom Boom

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-07-29 at 12.03.02 PM

A solid Mission: Impossible opening for Mission: Impossible.

You can’t complain about it. It’s the best in the series. But you can’t crow about it either. It’s the #7 opening of the summer (if you include Avengers, which I do).

It will gross between $195m and $210 million domestic and between $375m and $500 million internationally, a worldwide box office range of $570 million to $710 million.

Four of Cruise’s Top 5 worldwide grossers are M:I movies. This will push #5 down to #6. Could he his 3rd best ever. Could be his best. We’ll know in time and it won’t be because of domestic box office.

There is something nice about consistency. And this is one of the most consistent franchises in the world. In a way, it is a bit like Bond, pre-2012. Consistent growth for a mature franchise, not nothing shocking. Then BOOM, Skyfall almost doubles Quantum of Solace, which was the #2 all-time Bond grosser when it was released. The franchise goes from $500 million something a movie to over $1 billion. SPECTRE fell back a bit, but only to $880 million, which is still a giant leap in the franchise’s history.

I think that people expected this Mission to somehow be Skyfall. McQuarrie did a great job with the last M:I film (his first) and this was the payoff.

But… it’s not. Still right in the pocket.

I thought that Tom Cruise, while in amazing shape, looked every minute his 50seomthing years. It’s one of the things I liked about the film. But maybe we have to come to grips with movie stars, sans CG-driven ideas, being capped at $500 million international, a number Cruise has never broken.

Even Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, which did almost a billion worldwide, was just barely past $500 million international… and aside from F&F, it was his biggest international movie by over $230 million.

I have been writing for years that the people who rage on about the CG and Franchise of it all have a flaw in their thinking… that the giant numbers are replacing “better” work, and in this case, the power of movie stars. My position is that big CG filmmaking has created a new space for the film industry and that comedies, dramas, movie stars, etc – our beloved elements of the past – are still there and thriving in many cases. They are just overshadowed by the big movies in a media culture that is primarily interested in drawing the most attention possible, not telling a well-rounded story.

The measures of the movie world have changed dramatically. Screaming into the ether about how cruel the world is that has brought unto us the billion dollar gross is just willfully missing the facts.

Friday Estimates: Mission Teen (Not So) Impossible Go

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Friday Estimates 9a 072818

Weekend Estimates: Mamma, You’ve Been Equalized!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-07-22 at 12.33.50 PM

Okay… I had fun with the title of this, but if there is anything I can emphasize first about box office, it is that there was no race this weekend between The Equalizer 2 and Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again. Both movies opened. Both had wildly different constituencies. They took different directions over the course of the weekend and the “race” between them was coincidental, not comparative.

There are a few weekends a year when a film or a couple films are so dominant on an opening weekend that they really do crowd out other films. This is not one of those.

There have been four weekends with more than $200 million in domestic grosses amongst the top 12 films in release. That is when a film or films can crowd other films out of their position. There are occasional occurrences of films that really compete heavily with the same demos when one can “win out” over the other. But that is what distributors pay their executives not to allow to happen.

A couple brief thoughts on this specific weekend to come…

The story of the weekend at the top of the charts is that both opening sequels, Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again and Equalizer 2, fell off the cliff on Saturday, victims, in part, of the relatively recent practice of counting Thursday shows after 7p as Friday box office.

There is not enough experiential evidence to call this a box office trend at this time… however… the other 2 openings that had a similar trajectory over their opening weekend in this opening range were Fifty Shades Freed and Ocean’s 8. It was not true of Ready Player One, Rampage, A Wrinkle In Time or Pacific Rim 2, all of which opened between $28m an $42n this year. Last summer, Girls Trip also had a similar trajectory ($31m open), though it didn’t drop as hard on that first Saturday.

So the question of whether this is a “ladies night” phenomenon has to be considered. Big Friday… high anticipation from a specific demo… never a better day than that first Friday/Thursday night. Of course, horror movies tend to take this to an even greater extreme. To some degree, this is also true of “black movies.”

Everyone is hypersensitive these days to the discussion of these demos. And we should be. They have been underserved and often mistreated forever. Still… the numbers are the numbers.

There is nothing wrong with niches, either in the work itself or the embrace of them commercially. It is a bit… maybe ironic… that the push for women and POC in mainstream studio films comes at a time when the business of so much of studios has become about serving niches, niche by niche. The intensity of the split doesn’t have to happen… but studios are not great at subtle shifts. They get very black and white (no pun intended), in great part because of the size of the dollars involved for them.

But I digress…

The answer to the weekend is that E2 dropped less than MM2 on Saturday… though again… both dropped.

A24 had a nice expansion for Eighth Grade. Blindspotting opened well on 14. Both, like Sorry To Bother You should be on more “traditional” multiplex screens. This is not a criticism of the distributors, but of the current system. Opening multiplexes up to indie product more aggressively should be coming back in style, while studio mega-movies invading indie theaters has been the trend in the last 5 years.

Bleeker Street also scored with McQueen on a single screen and IFC got Far From The Tree in gear, also on 1.

Friday Estimates: Mamma Equalized 2

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

friday estimates 2018-07-21 at 12.32.03 PM copy

Weekend Estimates: Johnson Haze

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

weekend estimates 2018-07-15 at 9.58.48 AM

Hotel Transylvania 3 started Friday stronger than its predecessors, but is estimated to end up between 1 & 2 for a completely expected launch. Dwayne Johnson, however, was rocked, not only missing the top slot with Skyscraper, but falling to #3 in estimates for the weekend. Eighth Grade and He Won’t Get Far On Foot launch well, each on 4 screens.

Friday Estimates: Blob Beats Rock

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

friday estimates 071618

BYOB

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

byobriot

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima