The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2007

Inside The Santa Barbara Jury Room



Agents Lurk: The Search For An Online Revenue Model

Everything about the Ask a Ninja videoblog phenomenon smacks of a new form of entertainment. Two guys in Los Angeles produce a series of simple, low cost video clips where a ninja character answers profound and ridiculous questions. The comedic series gets popular as a video podcast through iTunes, with viewership of 300,000 to 500,000 per episode, and the show


Santa Barbara Time

Sorry about the absence of postings… enjoying the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the films here.
All I can say about Crazy Love, which I caught today in non-jury (well, not my jury) competition, is Jesus H. M-Fing Crikey & A Side Of Fries. It’s not the best doc I have ever seen, but on a small, human scale, it is one of the greatest personal stories you will ever see in a doc. And by the end, it does become about more than these two jaw-dropping individuals and their personal choices. Wow.
Bill Condon was honored here tonight, reminding me both of how good Dreamgirls really is and how much of a miss the Academy made by not nominating it. I can’t really say I think any of the five nominees doesn’t deserved to be there, which is the real story of the season, as opposed to the drone report by Laura Holson in the NYT yesterday. But five, ten years from now, the movies of this season that will be remembered are Dreamgirls and The Departed, far more than the others. And neither is likely to win the Oscar. (ha ha) But seriously… those are the two movies that will be watched over and over and over again with people stopping when they catch a snippet on cable/satellite and are stuck watching for an hour or two. The others are very good films, but the flavors of those just won’t last as long.
I am really enjoying the festival, the people, the films, and the hospitality of Festival Director Roger Durling… but I am really in need of a few days of brain stoppage. Too much of a good thing is too much… at least at film festivals.


SAG Wins….

Here they are…
Have at it…


Klady's Weekend Estimates

Title | Weekend | Chg | Cume
Epic Movie | 18.9 | – | 18.9
Smokin’ Aces | 14.2 | – | 14.2
Night at the Museum | 9.1 | -24% | 216.4
Catch and Release | 7.9 | – | 7.9
Stomp the Yard | 7.7 | -38% | 50.5
Dreamgirls | 6.4 | -20% | 86.4
The Pursuit of Happyness | 4.7 | -25% | 152.7
Pan’s Labyrinth | 4.2 | -6% | 16.0
The Queen | 3.9 | 14% | 41.1
The Hitcher | 3.4 | -56% | 13.2
Title | Friday | Screens | % Chg | Cume
Epic Movie | 6.5 | 2801 | – | 6.5
Smokin’ Aces | 4.9 | 2218 | – | 4.9
Catch and Release | 2.6 | 1622 | – | 2.6
Night at the Museum | 2.2 | 3241 | -30% | 209.5
Stomp the Yard | 2.1 | 2115 | -43% | 44.9
Dreamgirls | 1.7 | 2785 | -25% | 81.7
Pursuit of Happyness | 1.3 | 2688 | -30% | 149.3
Pan’s Labyrinth | 1.2 | 823 | -11% | 13.0
The Hitcher | 1.1 | 2836 | -61% | 10.9
The Queen | 1.0 | 1830 | 10% | 38.3
Freedom Writers | 1.0 | 2273 | -40% | 28.8
Also Debuting
Blood & Chocolate | 0.7 | 1200 | – | 0.7
Salaam-E-Ishq | 0.18 | 86 | – | 0.18
Seraphim Falls | .038 | 52 | – | .038
Breaking & Entering | .004 | 2 | – | .004
G.I. Jesus | .0008 | 6 | – | .0008
Funny Money | .0004 | 4 | – | .0004


Sundance 8

The issue involved is pretty basic to a lot of film… what does thing film tell you about its intent and how much should that matter to the audience?
At Sundance this year, this was also an issue with Nanking (westerners as heroes in a Chinese/Japanese conflict), Hounddog (how successful artistically does the on-screen rape and objectification of an 11-year-old have to be to be art instead of exploitation?), Teeth (is a man’s vagina dental fantasy comedy feminist or misogynist?), Zoo (does the film exploit a sexual deviance, condone it, mock it?), etc, etc, etc.

The Rest…


Box Office Hell

Coming Soon | Box Office Guru | Box Office Prophet | EW | Box Office Mojo
Epic Movie | 20.6 | 14 | 19.4 | 16 | 14
Smokin’ Aces | 14.1 | 8 | 11.9 | 7 | 10.3
Night At The Museum | 8.1 | 8 | 8.1 | 8 | –
Stomp The Yard | 7 | 7 | 6.3 | – | –
Catch & Release | 5.7 | 7 | 6.8 | 11 | 4.6
Dreamgirls | 5.6 | 6 | 8.7 | 8 | –
Blood & Chocolate | 3.3 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 1.7


Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word…

Park City to Long Beach to Santa Barbara… with a 9am jury meeting in the morning.
Sundance ended as it began for me… with Brett Morgan. We chatted on Thursday morning, after which he headed off to an Iraq War protest at the festival and I headed off to the SLC Airport. More on that, Waitress, The Night Buffalo, Robinson Devor (director of Zoo), Black Rain/White Light, Longford, Jim Broadbent, and more.
But for now… I must give up to the need for sleep.
Here’s something to discuss… the first couple of Box Office Hell estimates for Epic Movie are $20.6 million and $14 million and for Smokin’ Aces, $14.1 million and $8 million. Pretty extreme.


Column Corrections

As sometimes happens, there are some stats that I got wrong this morning


20 Weeks – Launching Phase II

Phase II is a different race than Phase I. Once the field has been narrowed to five, the dynamic shifts. And there are a whole new set of questions to answer.
Will Warner Bros spend big on Letters From Iwo Jima now, even though they never really saw this film as having much commercial potential? A push could pay off handsomely if the film actually won. But if it doesn’t, it is good money thrown away after already achieving the nomination.
How much deeper in the hole will Paramount and Paramount Vantage go on Babel in order to race. Again, the nomination actually puts the film in position to come within $10 million of breakeven after ancillaries. With an extraordinary success in DVD, they could break even. But any additional millions in spending to chase the win would all be lost if they didn’t win.
The campaign for The Departed has been very laid back. Will that change? Will Mark Wahlberg, now Oscar nominated, finally feel like he is appropriately valued by the studio? (Recall problematic moments at the junket and premieres.) The re-release might pay for itself. But is a strategic shift forthcoming?
The Queen will continue to expand and spend. But with Sheen out, leaving the same central trio on the campaign trail, with Mirren still an apparent lock, how can they ramp things up any further?
And we all know that Little Miss Sunshine will continue its “Little Best Picture” push. But how hard? And can they overshoot the mark?

The Rest….


Very, Very Odd

This is barely an item, but I just saw Edward Norton on Regis & Kelly Lee and when asked about The Painted Veil not getting any Oscar nominations, he suggested (hemming and hawing a bit) that the film was not eligible for this year’s awards.
Paraphrasing (no Tivo in Utah)…
Regis: “I can’ believe this film didn’t get any nominations.”
Edward: “It’s just coming out now.”
“I got a disc a month ago, when Naomi was on.”
“You got an early look.”
“So it wasn’t eligible for this year’s awards?”
“It’s, uh….”
“It’s coming out now.”
It was actually a little more elaborate and avoidant than that, but this gives you the gist.
I can understand not wanting to talk about getting shut out, but… I’ve never seen someone do it like this before. If you didn’t know, you would absolutely have gotten the impression that TPV was not Oscar eligible in 2006.


Sundance 8, Photos 3

Jim Broadbent and… View The One-Sheet For Longford
Zoo director Robinson Devor
The Ski-Thru Albertson’s

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SD7 – Humped Over

A Hounddog mini-review will hit the Sundance page of MCN shortly.
Quieter today. Hollywood checked out, for the most part, in the last two days.
But that also means more chances to get to the movies.
Let’s have a conversation about how many of you are turned on, turned off, or disinterested in the notion of a “Sundance film,” as so many – for so little money – are going to come to a theater and a DVD store near you in the next year.


Sundance 7 – Photo Array

Slipstream, Dinerstein, Main Street, The Real Paul Fischer, AR, Marty, K-Hair, Random Girl, Gilmore Flame, Tony & Dennis


Sundance With David


The Hot Blog

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“At a recent screening of Creed, as the familiar fanfare of Bill Conti’s beloved Rocky score signaled the start of the final round of the big fight, the audience burst into spontaneous applause. This was no sneak-preview crowd, primed with free admission and popcorn, but a room full of critics and journalists armored in professional skepticism. A cynic might say that the cheering was a Pavlovian reflex set off by a piece of commercial entertainment in the hands of a skilled, manipulative director. This cynic, however, was too busy choking up and clapping to form the thought.”
A. O. Scott On Creed

The physical object is so banalized nowadays, you have to bring something else. And the audience is completely ready to get that, and want that, voilà. It’s difficult because it’s a lot of work and there are a lot of requirements, but you have to try to be more and more unique; if not, you’re just releasing a DVD in the old way, and even if a title might interest some cinephiles, it won’t be enough regarding the fact that they could see on S-VOD for ten bucks hundreds of movies. So how do you bring this audience who’s continuing following you because they have the same feeling of cinephilia to acquire what you’re releasing ? And even though we can see of course that the 3000-limited-edition of Body Double is to be able to go out-of-print very quickly, at the same time it will increase interest on the title itself.
~ Carlotta Films’ Vincent Paul-Boncour