The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2005

Early Box Office Analysis

Early Friday Boxoffice Numbers
1. The Longest Yard – $15.7m
2. Star Wars III – $15.5
3. Madagascar – $14.4m
4. Monster-in-Law – $2.7m
5. Kicking & Screaming – $1.3m
6. Crash – $1.3m
The only real news about Friday

226 Comments »

The Island Shoes

pumablog.jpg
DreamWorks’ 40 minute preview of The Island came with a pair of shoes… really cool shoes. It turns out, they are $110 retail and the other three colors that Puma’s “Mostro Garment FS” shoes come in are virtually unwearable by men without extreme fashion daring. Yet, they are incredible comfortable.
I guess we’ll see how long it takes to make my white shoes gray.

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Weekend Warning

I’ve been expecting a lot from this weekend based on what seems like some sure bets coming into the multiplexes combined with Star Wars: Weekend Two – Return Of The Cash.
But word on the street is not only that the tracking is soft (by blockbuster standards) on both The Longest Yard and Madagascar… it is weak.
How weak? Well, even giving the animated film the benefit of the limits of tracking on kids, neither film is expected to crack $40 million in 4 days.
That would be the worst showing since the last Star Wars, in combination with Spider-Man, kept all but Insomnia, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Enough out of the marketplace. Both Bruce Almighty and The Day After Tomorrow did more than $80 million on their own opening on Memorial Day.
$43 million would be Adam Sandler’s best opening ever… but still, this is his first time in a May film, much less in the Memorial Day Weekend slot.
Anything under $42 million would be DreamWorks’ worst CG animated opening since their very first film, 1998’s Antz. Scary punchline? If this film doesn’t do at least Shark Tale business, it could mean that someone from outside the company has to come in and buy out Paul Allen.
If both of these films are at around $40 million and Star Wars is around $75 million, we’re looking at a likely under-$200 million 4-day weekend. That would make it the weakest Memorial Day since 2001, the year of Pearl Harbor.

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This Just In…

I haven’t clicked on my bookmark for The Huntington Post all week…
Kind of sad, really.

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Just Why Is Joe Roth In Need Of A Fluffing?

Patrick Goldstein’s Tuesday LA Times column explaining that Joe Roth doesn’t really need all this hard core show biz stuff…
Why?
Why now?
Is this the first sign that negotiations in the Sony deal have taken a turn for the worse and Joe is ready to sell the failure of Revolution Studios as a good thing?
Ot perhaps he is setting himself up to be the next pope…
The only reason that this isn’t the first topic of most conversations in town is that everyone is too busy trying to figure out who forgot to feed Tom Cruise his pill before he went on Oprah.

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M.I.A.

Sorry I’ve been missing…
Seeing a lot of movies… but things will be quieter next week… in no small part because I will be out of town… but still working every day.
Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers is not mainstream, but it is wonderful.
I can’t comment on The Bat… but fans will be happy, happy, happy.
Lords of Dogtown is a strong indie-style drama.
Cinderella Man IS Seabisuit… but people seem to like it anyway.
Vince Vaughn is not what you’d expect in Wedding Crashers… which works wonders.
The first 40 minutes of The Island is strong… the car chase in the second act is one of the best “smash-em-up” car chases ever, with the best gimmick we’ve seen in a long time… way better than Bay’s Bad Boys II epic.

47 Comments »

Roger Friedman: Still The Biggest Jackass of Them All

How is it that Roger Friedman can take a story that everyone is already all over, Cruise & Holmes, and somehow add such a vain, idiotically conspiratorial twist that he makes you root for Tom and Katie to straighten out their love forever?
Roger now doubts the international box office, assumes that War of the Worlds is a repetition of Minority Report (a fine film, perhaps too dark and smart for its own box office good) and is sure that the Holmes/Cruise relationship is a sham because Katie Holmes didn’t confess it to him. I have news for El Moronico… you can fall in love in three weeks as easily as you can set up a publicity stunt.
Does his suspicion about world box office mean that he can’t comprehend that The Last Samurai grossed about $90 million less than Mission: Impossible II did worldwide and that it cost about $80 million less? Is he just too dumb to realize that there have been at least 6 films that cost more than War of The Worlds to make in the last three years?
And Roger shows his courage by blaming CAA for the allegedly fake hook up and not Scientology. Nice.
When a man is such a blatant ass that he has me defending big popcorn movies, CAA, and (dear God!) The Last Samurai, you know he has gone somewhere small, wet and dark… where rats belong.

63 Comments »

Two Surprisingly Gay Mainstream Commercials

In the last few days, I

11 Comments »

Badagascar or Maddisaster???

Which is the better title?

67 Comments »

Sunday Wars

MCN’s Len Klady estimates a $105.5 million 3-day weekend for Sith.
Fox offered up $108.5 million.
Why?
$108,037,878.00
That would be the 3-day for Shrek 2 last year on the same date.
I have always said there is about a 10% lean available to studio numbers before they start having other studios talk about the lie, as, a) everyone does it, and b) the finals aren’t really final when they are marked final.
And so, the $3 million lean – which is about what the other studios quietly had as the difference between Fox’s official $50 million Thursday and their numbers – will not cause any stir at all.
Of course, the whole thing is academic and only an issue of what non-industry types will say on air and in papers tonight and tomorrow.
The number is almost $25 million ahead of any other 4-day opening. And this is where the changing face of the box office is a story. The opening is the opening. But how long before one of these openings leads to a $500 million gross, much less Titanic

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Early Box Office Analysis

Aw, that rarified air…
Before anyone loses their mind and starts talking about the Friday dip for Star Wars: Episode III

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A Hot Blog Sneak Peak & Feedback Fest…

Next week, the filmmaker who brought us some really cool coverage from the NY Film Festival last October will be launching a new series of films on MCN… take a look at the teaser and let us know what you think…
http://crossoverfollowing.com/spec/mutinyteaser.mov
(it’s not a small load.)

10 Comments »

Star Wars Opens

50 million geeky dollars.
What do you think?

173 Comments »

One More Bush/Vader Perspective

Thank goodness For Alex Jones… he brilliantly puts the entire Bush/Vader thing in proper booby hatch perspective.
And as soon as he gets out of the booby hatch, he’s heading for The Alamo Drafthouse. Yahoo!!!

84 Comments »

Is Crash A Powerful Take On Race Or Patronizing Glop?

It’s generated a lot of e-mail at The Hot Button this week… I hated Crash.
And in this case, the anger expressed by readers is as based on race and politics as some of you guys can make… well, anything.
So have at it… and if you want to call someone a name, just think about a bigger target and make it less personal… please.

36 Comments »

The Hot Blog

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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