The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2005

Sunday B.O.

Strong word of mouth is still driving Wedding Crashers to an excellent hold. It will probably end up being off more like 25%, but still

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Early Weekend Analysis

The only thing not crashing is Crashers, Wedding Crashers.
Okay

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Is Skinny Overrated?

“Lindsay Lohan is an attractive girl, but she’s not one of the world’s great beauties. But when she bounces down the hall in Mean Girls, she is magnetic. And it is way to simple to say, “Men like breasts.” Men do like breasts. But the bounce and the unaware way with which Ms. Lohan walked

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Friday Frivolity

Okay… silly one…
Who is the hottest woman in the movies today?
Who is the hottest man?
Who is the hot name most likely to be utterly forgotten by 2007?

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Does Cheese Go With Those Fries?

What is your standard for the great summer movie experience?
Do you need to be daxzzled (or bedazzled) or do you just wanna have fun?
Read. React.

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How Are Things Going At DreamWorks?

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THB. React.
LATE ADDITION: An excellent piece on DW by Kate Kelly and Merissa Marr at the WSJ brought up a key element that has escaped me… a major piece of the value of DreamWorks live action is that they have distribution rights to all the DreamWorks Animation films. That alone could add $50 million to $100 million a year in net revenue to DreamWorks SKG. Interesting….

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Oscar Geeks?

Guess it’s time to start the wrestling…
Read… react.
The Top Seven Early Contenders
Munich
The Producers
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World
Walk The Line
All The King’s Men
Jarhead

205 Comments »

Imitation The Dirtiest Job?

There was a terrific little film at Sundance a couple of years ago that I still tell people about called Dirty Work. The film by David Sampliner and Tim Nackashi follows three men who deal with our unpleasant business — Darrell, a septic tank pumper, Russ, a bull semen collector, and Bernard, an embalmer.
So I get a promotional e-mail about a show called Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel and was kind of happy for the filmmakers… they obviously converted their doc into a series, a la Morgan Spurlock.
Nope.
The TV show is kind of Spurlockian, but the doc filmmakers are not associated. More money for someone else. They know a good idea when they steal one. Sigh.
The Discovery Channel series is on Wednesday nights. And perhaps by coincidence, the doc, Dirty Work, is on Sundance Channel at 12:30a on Friday night… set those Tivos.

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With Due Respect…

What kind of idiot would hold March Of The Penquins, which could do maybe $30 million, as the “surprise smash of the summer?”
Chris Connelly, on a lame late piece on The Slump on Nightline, compared to it to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Huh?!?!?! There is no $100 million-plus surprise this year. There were two last year.
Isn’t it odd how being nice to the Penguins is a way of being dismissive of the theatrical business?
Of course, the most galling thing is that after it taking 16 years for the video window to get down to four months, all of a sudden it’s about piracy or marketing costs. It has never been about either. It has always been about big corporations and quarterly revenues. And the shortened window is a direct result of the long move towards the opening weekend obsession, so the theatrical window is almost never more than 8 weeks of significance, regardless of the DVD release date. If the theatrical window is only 8 weeks, the shortened window for DVD seems, from a distance, to make sense… but it doesn’t.
To have Walter Parkes on, happy to blame a very serious problem for DreamWorks on The Island on The Slump… oy. There is good reason for people at DreamWorks to be more nervous than he has ever seen them.
The industry has worked itself into this “window situation” since Batman in 1989. And it has succeeded in sucking more money out of the world’s pockets than ever before. The danger isn’t where we are. The danger is that some people don’t think it’s enough.

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Is It An Issue?

Veterans (and Matt Drudge) are up in arms about the mock notion of using a Purple Heart as a tool to remove the panties from a bridesmaid.
Is this even worth commenting on?

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Upcoming Weekend

So, here it comes… Stealth, Must Love Dogs, and Sky High…
Anyone planning on going to the movies?

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Michael Fleming Delivers The Mel Details

From Variety
Posted: Sun., Jul. 24, 2005, 10:00pm PT
Mel tongue-ties studios
‘Apocalypto’ to be filmed in obscure Mayan dialect
By MICHAEL FLEMING
When production chiefs from selected studios trooped to Icon Prods. headquarters after an invite to read the film Mel Gibson planned for summer 2006, they were surprised at the very first page of the script.
“The dialogue you are about to read will not be spoken in English.”
Gibson, who last made the most successful Aramaic-language film ever, is at it again.
“Apocalypto” hardly fits the traditional definition of a summer film. Set 500 years ago, pic will be filmed in an obscure Mayan dialect, presumably with the same kind of subtitles Gibson reluctantly added to “The Passion of the Christ.” It will star a neophyte cast indigenous to the region of Mexico where Gibson will shoot in October. And it likely will carry an R rating, unless Gibson tempers the onscreen depiction of violent scenes he wrote in his script.
Since Gibson’s bankrolling his pic and will sell foreign himself, studios were offered only a rent-a-system deal, such as George Lucas had with 20th Century Fox for his last three “Star Wars” films. And because “Apocalypto” is not a religious pic, there’s no guarantee of an encore turnout of the church groups and hardcore Catholics who made “The Passion of the Christ” a nearly $1 billion box office/DVD bonanza.
‘Passion’ prediction
At least three studios passed on the project before Disney bought it. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one studio bid for the project shows Gibson’s viability and makes laughable last year’s prediction by the New York Times that Gibson would be blackballed by Jewish executives after the “Passion” controversy.
That charge never really had much traction, said sources within Gibson’s agency, ICM. There was a post-“Passion” pile of scripts with $20 million-plus offers for Gibson’s acting services. While that paper piled up on ICM co-prexy Ed Limato’s desk, Gibson was accumulating pages of his own, scribbling “Apocalypto” in his office and becoming so passionate about it that he changed his plans to star in the Icon-produced drama “Under and Alone” for Warner Bros.
Even though studios including Paramount and Universal walked away from “Apocalypto” either for creative reasons or because Gibson’s asking price of a high P&A commitment was too high, Disney’s agreement to step up shows how much things have changed for Gibson since he struggled to get backing for “Braveheart.” Gibson felt he was too old to play William Wallace, preferring to cast Jason Patric, but he was hard-pressed to raise coin even when he agreed to star.
Paramount wouldn’t make “Braveheart” without a partner, and before Fox (which passed on “Passion”) stepped up, Gibson had a demoralizing meeting with his longtime haunt Warner Bros., which wanted another “Lethal Weapon” as a condition of the deal. Gibson made “Braveheart” on a shoestring, won picture and director Oscars and made money for both Paramount and Fox.
Happy with Disney
Now content to bankroll his vision and armed with his own overseas distribution and sales company, Gibson no longer goes hat in hand. Sources said at least two studios wanted the pic, but Gibson liked Disney, where he has a good relationship with Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. For its part, Disney agreed to Gibson’s tough deal terms.
Already, there is talk that Disney will program “Apocalypto” against the Warner Bros. film “Lady in the Water,” which just happens to be the first M. Night Shyamalan-directed film Disney hasn’t financed since the filmmaker’s breakthrough, “The Sixth Sense.”
For his part, Cook said he was confident “Apocalypto” fits the summer bill.
“We couldn’t be more excited about working again with Mel and his team,” said Cook. “This is one of the most original and unique scripts we’ve had the opportunity to read recently, and we plan for this to be an anchor of our summer schedule.”

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Box Office Sunday Estimates Analysis

The Slump Is Back!!!
Just kidding.
Actually, this weekend is a very good example of why Slump Chat is silly.
While Charlie & The Chocolate Factory held okay (read: not embarrassing) for a large opener and Wedding Crashers held exceptionally well, The Island smashed into the wall. It is the failure of The Island that makes this a down weekend. So

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Page Six vs Paramount

I am hardly the guy to be defending anyone at Paramount. But I found a Page Six item to be so unpleasantly inaccurate and inherently unkind that I feel I have to respond

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A Comprehensive Guide To The Artistry Of Miss Jessica Alba

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And if you want to see the QT version of these selected (read: remotely worth watching) moments from the new Into The Blue trailer… it’s here.

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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

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

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

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

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

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