The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2005

Whose Access Is It Anyway?

In my e-mail box, I just found a Forbes Newsletter proclaiming “First Review: War Of The Worlds.”
The author is Variety’s Todd McCarthy. Variety shares ad space on the Forbes page.
And my reaction is shock.
Because Variety is now trading on its industry status, which has allowed it to bully studios in the internet era into at least maintaining parity with internet sites and often into early screenings (they saw WoTW weeks before The New York Times). But it’s no longer just for editorial advantage and prestige. Now it is a direct, undeniable commerce issue.
And I say, “Foul.”
If the studios go down this road publicly – which is to allow to slide by the backdoor deals with the “fan site” AICN – there will be no high ground by which to do business with other outlets. If Variety can use a “First Review” claim (which is not true, btw) to its financial benefit, isn’t it directly damaging to The New York Times not to have that access?
Now, it might be a fluke. Embargo rules were all over the place on this particular movie, worldwide. Toes were stepped on and for one of the first times, a lot of people who don’t usually care complained.
But if it isn’t… is “First Review” is worth more than prestige and attention, but actually financial upside… the spiral will speed up and pirated previews – including test screening reviews – will not only become morally acceptable, but lionized by regular folks in a way they are not already.


Too Funny Not To…

Image by Banterist.com, Found via Defamer


Cinderella Guarantees Your Slipper

If you haven’t read the story
But is it like a restaurant? How much of your food do you eat before you start demanding the manager? How much would you have to dislike a movie before asking for your money back?
I can’t imagine ever asking for my money back based on quality. I was not the biggest fan of Cinderella Man, but I respect that I paid to see something that people worked hard to make and put real blood, sweat, and tears into. I feel free to criticize, but withdrawing my money would feel like me trying to get something for nothing and I couldn’t do it.
Could you? Would you?
(Didn’t Brian Grazer see S.O.B.? Make Cinderella Man into a musical and re-release it!!! Russell singing “In My Own Little Corner.” Paul Giamatti as The Fairy Godmother. It’s a sure smash!!!)


What Would Be Funniest?

A. A major release being sent to a web site for repeated viewings with no embargo while the entire NY media was forced to sign paperwork holding to a Wed. embargo date
B. One of the trades hiring an aging gossip columnist
C. A company hurt by the premature release of CG images on a huge film releasing CG images prematurely on an even bigger film


Three Legs… You're Out!



Trailer Chat



The Slump Redux

I spent a lot of time on Thursday and Friday trying to get all of my numbers to work… then I took two days off (thinking about it endlessly) and then I figured out my mistake. Somehow, in dealing with Excel, I left Shrek 2 off the 2004 numbers. And fortunately, I could smell it, even if I couldn’t see it. So with that fixed…
It is in The Hot Button, about to go up, but the punchline is… studios are about even for the year, indies are way down (about $390 million), and the holdover dollars from films released last year is actually ahead this year by around $100 million.
So for “Hollywood,” The Slump is non-existant.
For indies, the slump is beyond Passion of The Christ… even with no major winner to suck out business, the indies have not found films to match last year without Passion, much less with it.
And as weak as this year’s Oscar slate was perceived to be at the box office, the Fockers more than matched Return of the King’s holdover and the Oscar dollars for Milion Dollar Baby and Sideways in particular made it a good Oscar holdover year.
chicken little.gif


Something For Y'All To Chew On

Here is the number I have… if anyone wants to scream about it somehow being wrong, go for it. This has been lingering since Thursday and I admit, I am a little anxious about somehow having missed something.
According to my calculation, the major studios and their divisions opened 89 movies, grossing $3,080,207,993, as of June 17.
As of June 18 last year, the same studios released 94 movies and to June 18, grossed $2,778,780,593.
So the studio business is, but this calculation, up by $301,427,400 this year.
The flip side, of course, is that the true indie sector is down by $399,938,032 with 149 release this year versus 161 to this date last year.
So outside of emotional takes on “The Slump,” what do you think about the details?


Early Friday Boxoffice Estimates

1. Batman Begins – $8.4m
2. Betwitched – $8.0m
3. Mr. & Mrs. Smith – $5.1m
4. Land of the Dead – $4.4m
5. Herbie: Fully Loaded – $4.1m
6. Madagascar – $2.2m
7. The Longest Yard – $1.7m
8. Star Wars: Episode III – $1.6m
9. Shark Boy & Lava Girl – $1.1m
10. Cinderella Man – $1.0m
Not much analysis right now (I’ve heading to a screening of Rebound), except to say that you could easily see Herbie jump into the 3-spot on Saturday.


Do You Think…

… there is a good reason for the Elizabethtown trailer being cut like any dumb studio romantic comedy instead of accentuating the fact that this is a Cameron Crowe film?
Addition, 6:52p, Fri – My guess is that you who are responding are not refering to the trailer, linked above, but the “internet preview,” which has all the Crowe earmarks and looks wonderful.


Armond White Says…

… Nora Ephron is “perhaps the most inept director in Hollywood today.”
Is she? What other candidates should be considered?


Adding "No Guests" Injury To "Wait Til 29 Hours Before Release To See The Movie" Insult

This went out to professional journalists, regarding the Monday screening of War of the Worlds in non-LA/NY markets. Oy!
Just a few reminders about the upcoming WAR OF THE WORLDS screening this Monday, June 27 – we appreciate in advance for your cooperation!
Absolutely NO GUESTS – we will have a reserved section for press and it is for press only. Even if you do not plan on seating in the reserved section, there will still be no guests allowed. Everyone (except for press) entering the theater will need a physical ticket.
We have been asked to increase security measures at the theater. This means everyone will be go thru the wanding process, and no one will be allowed to bring in any purses, handbags, backpacks (anything that remotely resembles these items), no cameras, tape recorders, cell phones, picture phones, etc…
We think you get the idea. We are strongly suggesting you leave all these types of items at home. However, if you choose to bring them, we will have a place for you to check them and all items will be kept in a secure, locked area during the screening and returned immediately following.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and again, we greatly appreciate your cooperation.
Thank you very much.”


So Far…

Nothing I’ve seen in the Bewitched spots is as funny as the TV show was…


The Hot Blog has moved…

The Hot Blog is finally moving onto MCN turf.

The new URL is…


I’ll be posting to both sites for a short while, but the sooner you start commenting over there instead of over there, the sooner the smooth transition will be complete…


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Critics have said that I’ve made a career out of confounding expectations. Really? Because that’s all I do? That’s how I think about it. Confounding expectations. Like I stay up late at night thinking about how to do it. “What do you do for a living, man?” “Oh, I confound expectations.” You’re going to get a job, the man says, “What do you do?” “Oh, confound expectations. And the man says, “Well, we already have that spot filled. Call us back. Or don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Confounding expectations. I don’t even know what that means or who has time for it.”
~ Bob Dylan

“There was somebody from Creative Screenwriting Magazine who was here earlier, and she said ‘Have you got any advice for writers?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, write standing up’. Because this time around, I bought a cheap little stand off Amazon, and I wrote standing up, because it’s slightly uncomfortable – it’s not so uncomfortable that you can’t do it, it’s slightly uncomfortable. And it means you don’t end up going on the internet, basically, because you’re there to do a fucking job. So I’ll write for 25 minutes… then I’ll go and play on the PlayStation for a bit. And I do this all night. I go nocturnal. And then I go back and I’ll write a bit more, and then I go back to the PlayStation, and then I go back… And hopefully by then, I’ll lose track of time and then I’ll be writing for fucking ages, and then there’s a point where you get excited about it. So my advice for writers is always: write standing up, and get Scrivener, and write in 25 minute bursts, and get a PlayStation.”
~ Charlie Brooker

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