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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.
Why?
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.

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Too Funny Not To…

Image by Banterist.com, Found via Defamer
tomcruisexbox.jpg

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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!!!)

60 Comments »

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

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Three Legs… You're Out!

Read.
React.

171 Comments »

Trailer Chat

Go!

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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

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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?

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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.

130 Comments »

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.

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Armond White Says…

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

107 Comments »

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!
“Greetings!
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.”

62 Comments »

So Far…

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

18 Comments »

The Hot Blog has moved…

The Hot Blog is finally moving onto MCN turf.

The new URL is…

/columnists/poland/

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…

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The Hot Blog

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Quote Unquotesee all »

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

“The evening’s curious vanity and irrelevance stay with me, if only because those qualities characterize so many of Hollywood’s best intentions. Social problems present themselves to many of these people in terms of a scenario, in which, once certain key scenes are licked (the confrontation on the courthouse steps, the revelation that the opposition leader has an anti-Semitic past, the presentation of the bill of participants to the President, a Henry Fonda cameo), the plot will proceed inexorably to an upbeat fade. Marlon Brando does not, in a well-plotted motion picture, picket San Quentin in vain: what we are talking about here is faith in a dramatic convention. Things “happen” in motion pictures. There is always a resolution, always a strong cause-effect dramatic line, and to perceive the world in those terms is to assume an ending for every social scenario… If the poor people march on Washington and camp out, there to receive bundles of clothes gathered on the Fox lot by Barbra Streisand, then some good must come of it (the script here has a great many dramatic staples, not the least of them in a sentimental notion of Washington as an open forum, cf. Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington), and doubts have no place in the story.”
~ Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

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