The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2006

Deconstructing New Mythology

Studios drop big hints if a film is a potential bomb
Updated 5/30/2006 10:11 PM ET
By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY


Scared For A Minute

Reading a Variety.com story,. I saw a link,


Broken Break-Up

“The ability to combine sadness and light in a movie is rare. But the ability to go from broad comedy to heavy, mean, real anger and hurt – while keeping the audience engaged – is near impossible. And it proves to be the death of this well-intended movie.
They didn’t want to make The War Of The Roses II and they didn’t want to make How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. They didn’t even want to do When Harry Met Sally. This is a movie about a couple that splits based on a whim and then proceeds to allow its characters to behave in endless stupid, if occasionally funny, ways.”
The rest…


Key Art Bizarre

Empire Magazine gathered some international posters for Superman Returns that are interesting…
What is wrong with his face? Bad plastic surgery victim? (He is more butch here.) Will his face be madeover in the movie too?
I think this is the best of the posters so far…
Individual character posters are pretty well expected and in this case, I think it would be a good idea… especially the flying romantic, which targets the audience that the movie is not locked into… women. As for Mr. Spacey, I wonder why Pinky was cropped out of the shot?


When Harry Left Sony

The central reason for Sony to be part of the MGM acquisition in the first place was to acquire the MGM library to force the issue on Blu-Ray vs what was then Red-Ray and is now known as HD-DVD.


What Day Is It?

I am shaken and stirred by the long weekend… I have no sense of what day of the week it is or whether writing about the movie business is a sane choice. All I know is that watermelon was served every-damned-where I went this weekend and while I have some waiting in my refrigerator, it may become mush before my taste for it returns.
Superman Returns is moving up to a Wednesday launch, on the 28th. What is curious about this is whether it is a show of faith, that the weekend will be that good and therefore a Wed start will be an advantage in clearing out the die-to-sees before regular people que up on Friday night or whether this is a move to avoid uncomfortable comparisons to X3, as in “Well, we opened on Wed… you can’t compare the openings.. we did about the same by the end of the first weekend as they did.”
Added – The 14 Five-Day Openings Of More Than $100 Million
1. Revenge of the Sith | $172,802,507 | $380,270,577 | 5/19/05
2. Spider-Man 2 | $152,411,751 | $373,585,825 | 6/30/04
3. The Matrix Reloaded | $144,391,066 | $281,576,461 | 5/15/03
4. Spider-Man | $135,840,755 | $403,706,375 | 5/3/02
5. Shrek 2 | $128,983,060 | $441,226,247 | 5/19/04
6. The Passion of the Christ | $125,185,971 | $370,782,930 | 2/25/04
7. The Return of the King | $124,100,534 | $377,027,325 | 12/17/03
8. Attack of the Clones | $120,829,572 | $310,676,740 | 5/16/02
9. Harry Potter /Goblet of Fire | $119,743,524 | $290,013,036 | 11/18/05
10. Harry Potter/ Azkaban | $109,363,094 | $249,541,069 | 6/4/04
11. The Phantom Menace | $105,661,237 | $431,088,297 | 5/19/99
12. Harry Potter / Sorcerer’s Stone | $104,590,892 | $317,575,550 | 11/16/01
13. The Two Towers | $102,046,212 | $341,786,758 | 12/18/02
14. War of the Worlds | $100,561,125 | $234,280,354 | 6/29/05
Italicized are the 2 pre-July 4 openers… both opened Wednesday…


The Race For Drudge!

Wonder why Box Office Mojo is suddenly leaping to posting earlier in the day on the weekends and coming out with Memorial Day Weekend Saturday estimates?
Wonder why Roger Friedman And Nikki Finke are making the same title mistake in their box office coverage that includes “Star War – Attack of the Sith?” (That would be Revenge… the clones Attacked)
Well, it all seems to come down to the race for Matt Drudge’s attention.
There is no other news kicker like Drudge. If he links, your numbers go up. In the cases of all of these players, Drudge creates the chance to reach beyond the film industry. Box Office Mojo has a strong core business, but it has boundaries, since only a small percentage of the world cares about box office numbers. A Drudge link brings in civilians who see ads and more pages views equals more money. Roger Friedman is a lowlife gossip. My estimate would be that a Drudge link – which also has the advantage of being a real link and not just a quote, a la Page Six – multiplies his audience on that day by five to ten times. And Ms. Finke, who has given up any pretense of being a journalist to become a professional gadfly, probably owes more than a third of her total traffic in the three months her site has been in business to a half dozen or so links on Drudge.
For better or worse, Mr. Drudge has refused to link to any site I have been associated with since I wrote an Entertainment Weekly story about him and the Sidney Blumenthal lawsuit a decade ago. Of course, I was just a reporter working News & Notes and being shaped by editors. But with the exception of a couple of times when he decided to send his minions against me to shut me up about some opinion he considered too left wing, not a noise since.
Being stuck behind this wall is not helpful to me or my business. But this latest go round in the Drudge placement game is not about me, any more than being against test screening reviews was about me. It is, simply, the ugly incursion of capitalism into the idea of independent editorial on the internet. It’s not new. But the lie of it is fresh.
When I started writing this, Drudge hadn


Sunday Update

First, we have your Cannes Palm D’ Or winner… and once again, the festival (as most do) finds a way to make it all seem irrelevant (which is the happy opposite of selling out, I guess) by going with Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley, which is surely smart and surely of importance. But Loach’s last three films didn’t get American distribution, and the last one that did, Sweet Sixteen, grossed $316,319.
Almodovar’s Volver grabbed a couple of awards and Inarritu’s Babel got one. Good for the Volver sell, which is all arthouse and not so great for Babel, which now has a tag that will do them no good in selling a movie that hopes to be commercial, yet will be in every ad they make.
The Full List
At The Box Office


Friday Estimates by Klady

Now…. that’s a muthafuckin’ opening….
Second highest opening day ever. And for all of those who have foolishly pointed to a lack of originality as a problem with theatrical box office… bzzt… WRONG!.
X-Men: The Last Stand reminds us of the central truth of today’s movie market… give audiences something they want and they will come.
Based on the history, the four-day should be at least $120 million for the film. It


Are You Seeing Movies This Weekend?

This would be the entry in which to offer your opinions on X-Men: The Last Stand, An Inconvenient Truth, or anything else you are seeing this weekend.


A Filmmaker Responds… Wildly

This came in from the FilmMonthly.com website.
Apparently, they reviewed a film called Buddha Wild … I have never heard of it before… and they didn’t much like it.
And then the filmmaker, Anna Wilding, responded.
You can see her e-mail on the page. And Del Harvey, an editor on the site says, “When we posted the review, we were bombarded with some very rude and offensive emails and a few phone calls from Ms. Wilding herself, claiming we had committed slander, were total idiots, and so on.”
The magic of the internet, eh?


Don't Trip On The Hype

I like Anne Thompson a lot, but I found myself snickering through here latest


Anyone? Anyone?

As far as I can tell, for the first time in memory, the Cannes closing night awards are not scheduled to be televised anywhere in America. Anyone know different?


Images Of Marie

The funny thing about all the Marie Antoinette clamor is that it sounds like Ms. Coppola delivered exactly the movie she promised and intented. The trailer tends to confirm this. The question is whether there are many people who will value a movie about a spoiled brat… especially when Ms. Coppola shows her so much love.
It’s all sounding a little Spanglish to me. But we shall soon see…
In the meanwhile, these two images seem to me to be the key to the film.


In The Year 2000….

Will this communal experience replace the movies… or the image of an audience with 3D gasses?
This image actually comes from a blog entry from The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.


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“We now have a situation where audiences very often prefer commercial trash to Bergman’s Persona or Bresson’s L’Argent. Professionals find themselves shrugging, and predicting that serious, significant works will have no success with the general public. What is the explanation? Decline of taste or impoverishment of repertoire? Neither and both. It is simply that cinema now exists, and is evolving, under new conditions. That total, enthralling impression which once overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s was explained by the universal delight of those who were witnessing and rejoicing over the birth of a new art form, which furthermore had recently acquired sound. By the very fact of its existence this new art, which displayed a new kind of wholeness, a new kind of image, and revealed hitherto unexplored areas of reality, could not but astound its audiences and turn them into passionate enthusiasts.

Less than twenty years now separate us from the twenty-first century. In the course of its existence, through its peaks and troughs, cinema has travelled a long and tortuous path. The relationship that has grown up between artistic films and the commercial cinema is not an easy one, and the gulf between the two becomes wider every day. Nonetheless, films are being made all the time that are undoubtedly landmarks in the history of cinema. Audiences have become more discerning in their attitude to films. Cinema as such long ago ceased to amaze them as a new and original phenomenon; and at the same time it is expected to answer a far wider range of individual needs. Audiences have developed their likes and dislikes. That means that the filmmaker in turn has an audience that is constant, his own circle. Divergence of taste on the part of audiences can be extreme, and this is in no way regrettable or alarming; the fact that people have their own aesthetic criteria indicates a growth of self-awareness.

Directors are going deeper into the areas which concern them. There are faithful audiences and favorite directors, so that there is no question of thinking in terms of unqualified success with the public—that is, if one is talking about cinema not as commercial entertainment but as art. Indeed, mass popularity suggests what is known as mass culture, and not art.”
~ Andrei Tarkovsky, “Sculpting In Time”

“People seem to be watching [fewer] movies, which I think is a mistake on people’s parts, and they seem to be making more of them, which I think is okay. Some of these movies are very good. When you look at the quality of Sundance movies right now, they are a lot better than they were when I was a kid. I do think that there have been improvements artistically, but it’s tough. We’ve got a system that’s built for less movies in terms of how many curatorial standard-bearers we have in the states. It’s time for us to expand our ideas of where we find our great films in America, but that said, it’s a real hustle. I’m so happy that Factory 25 exists. If it didn’t exist, there would be so many movies that wouldn’t ever get distributed because Matt Grady is the only person who has seen the commercial potential in them. He’s preserving a very special moment in independent film history that the commercial system is not going to be preserving. He’s figuring out how to make enough money on it to save these films and get them onto people’s shelves.”
~ Homemakers‘ Colin Healey On Indie Distribution