The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2008

Friday Estimates by Klady – 5/31

What can one say about Sex?
Mighty niche plays are poorly predicted by tracking.
It’s not going to quite be The Simpsons, but like The Simpsons, a TV series showed its ability to draw on opening day… even if, in this case, the movie sucks like Samantha.
What’s truly remarkable… even if Indy opened on Thursday and even if Sex doesn’t follow with similar muscle… is that if Klady’s number is right, Sex had a better opening day number than Indy… not to mention Rings: 2 Towers and Bourne Ult.
Indy took, perhaps, a bigger than expected hit this Friday… but as there is little chance that families are going to spend the rest of the weekend at Sex, there may well be an uptick as the weekend progresses.
Universal got the $20m opening for The Strangers... which is about right for that title, even if it was released by Screen Gems, known for releasing those films, and whose campaign looked so much like a SG Special.


BYOB – No Sex, Please

Have I mentioned… I Love New York.
No crane fell on me this morning, but I have been having a lovely day seeing some of my favorite people and places… making up for the painfully unambitious revival of A Chorus Line that we saw last night. (It did make me think that a thoughtful revival of that show and/or Hair could really be great right now. And bring on the John Osborne plays… angry young man is “in.”)
More to come, including a radio spot, another studio meal, and Passing Strange.
The sun is out, the city is alive, and any conversation not involving four women trying to live an era that happily concluded years ago is exciting.
How about you?


S&TC Is A Internet Ticket Sale Phenom

The Top 10 Pre-Sale List of All-Time
1. “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”
2. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
3. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
4. “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour”
5. “The Matrix Reloaded”
6. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
7. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
8. “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”
9. “The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers”
10. “Sex and the City: The Movie”
A list that is interestingly missing six – Spider-Man 3, Shrek The Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, X-Men: The Last Stand, Indiana Jones IV, and Iron Man – of the Top Ten Openings of the last 3 years (before that, it would seem unfair to expect even the biggest openers to break into this list, as the technology was young). This might be because Fandango had a significantly larger number of the theaters playing those films. But it’s still interesting.
And note that amongst some of the biggest openings of all time, their #4 biggest pre-sale led to “just” a $31.1 million opening.
So what does the pre-sale success of S&TC mean?
I would argue that grown women committed to going and utilized their credit cards more aggressively than teen boys do… as they did in order to take their daughters to see the Miley Cyrus concert film.
What do you think?


There Will Be Tie-Ins

Is your betty


Box Office Hell – May 30



Matson & The City




Ella Taylor is taking heat for shredding, accurately, Sex & The City- Episodes 127-133: The Cash Grab.
Less a movie than a very long goodbye (again), at 142 minutes, Sex and the City is basically a whole season



Not much to discuss.
The Sex & The City coverage is interesting. The idea of the film opening to more than $30 million seems to be freaking some people out… particularly the people at WB who just fired the people who picked up the title after the larger studio took a pass on the ol’ TV show.
There is no real history for a film like this, though the question of whether women could open was probably similar – fewer dart-throwing monkeys in the chorus – for Charlie’s Angels… a movie that should have been a cash cow for Sony, but cost way too much. If reports that S&TC cost $65 million are true, that’s kinda crazy as well.
Obviously, the woman niche is, in hard numbers, much bigger than The Geek 8 niche. And they will have to come out in force, though it is probably a mistake to underestimate gay men attending the film in pretty significant numbers (though many gay men would be offended by the very idea… just like straight men).
The ticket sales companies are all in a flutter because shows are selling out in surprising numbers… but I would argue that this is more about the market for the movie, older women, who plan weekend choices more carefully and have the cash to pay the service charge without thinking about it. S&TC could be Tyler Perry for women.


BYOB – Heading East

AFTRA continues to be the piss in SAG’s coffee, driven by the avarice of wanting a bigger piece of the media landscape. Still… like DGA’s not- evil deal during the WGA work stoppage, this is likely checkmate for SAG and will quash any real chance of a strike.
And with that, off I fly…


Capturing A Critic In Your DVR

It seems kind of obvious, but I was immediately rocked by this New York Times story about Tivo making a deal which will allow users to sign up to have the picks of a Chicago Trib TV critic automatically downloaded to their Tivos.
What struck me immediately was… how much would someone pay to have Roger Ebert’s 15 or 20 or 30 movie picks a month automatically downloaded to their DVR? But really, regardless of payment, what a great way, using delivery services you already pay for, to get a direct experience based on the taste of tastemakers in whom you really believe!
Sign me up for Scorsese’s Top 10 movies from across the DirecTV line-up next month!
This idea matches up magnificently with a project like Cinetic’s problematic but interesting effort to find some kind of outlet for a couple hundred indies and foreign language films a year – ridiculously overstated in the story as the 3600 submissions to Sundance each year


Desperate Times For Republicans

As a Jew, I am not in love with any candidate mistaking one concentration camp for another.
On the other hand, when the Republicans have to try to turn Obama calling his great uncle his “uncle” and who recalls him suffering depression after being part of the group liberating Buchenwald and not Auschwitz into a major issue…
When they find out his great uncle wasn’t there when Buchenwald was liberated or was never depressed after he returned home, have them call me.
It’s ironic that I am breaking down language and intent so often these days – as that is where the story of New Media vs Traditional Media lives – and yet I find this so meaningless. For the record, I also find McCain’s inability to get Shia and Sunni right to be overblown as well. Yes, it would be good for The President to talk about world affairs with clarity. But it’s not the stumbles, it’s the ideas that matter.
And I think there was something to Clinton’s use of assassination as a reference point… but not because she was calling for something horrible, but because she has so consistently baited the media into talking about a subject meant to hurt an opponent and taken no responsibility for it. I do think this was intentional… and sloppy. But Keith Olbermann went too far on this one for me.
Anyway… if this and “bitter” and Rev Wright are the big guns that McCain can come up with in this campaign, it’s already over.
I won’t even get far into Bill Clinton’s 65 Comments »

Wilmington On Pollack

Sydney Pollack, the man who directed Out of Africa The Way We Were, and Three Days of the Condor, was one of those Hollywood professionals who seemed bullet-proof — so versatile and ubiquitous, and so talented in all three of his movie professions (director, producer and actor) that it seemed no bilious critic or conniving executive would ever lay a glove on him.
They didn

No Comments »

The Nikki Finke Effect

I guess we’ve now gotten to the point where Nikki Finke is going to desperately try to spin her gossip blog into a new source. As usual, her spin is self-referential and utterly self-serving. And as it is so often… a load of crap.
At least, partially.
And this is how the truly great liars make their lies seem truthful.
Today, Nikki explains


New (Media) Pre-Jac City

The New York Times had two stories yesterday that seemed disconnected… but are completely connected.
The first was about Redlasso, which decided to try to get ahead of the curve as a clearinghouse for daily television programs, clips of which are popular on websites. Unfortunately for Redlasso – or more so, its funders – the cutesy trick of trying to do this without the approval of the copyright holders is now turning into a real problem – the story – as the copyright holders build their own business models to control this very same content. Note that every sketch on SNL is now available for viewing and embedding on the NBC site, which includes ads for the networks and outside companies.
Next, you have a story about WB “Tr(ying) a New Tactic to Revive Its DVD Sales.” Of course, the central premise of the story is utter bullshit. The film they are “experimenting with” is one of maybe one or two a year they could consider making this kind of investment in… as they already did with The Animatrix and to some degree, with Batman and Superman animated product in anticipation of big theatrical releases. (the story) However, in the case of Watchmen, it is an interesting experiment. Will it have anything at all to do with the future of WB Home Ent? No. Not anymore than an pay-per-view day-n-date experiment with, say, the next-to-last Harry Potter movie would change the face of home delivery.
The third story is Sony’s creation of The Hot Ticket (the press release), announced last week, with the intention of delivering non-movie product to digital screens across America.
All three are stories of trying to get ahead of the curve, even if there are all kinds of inevitable reasons why it won’t work. Redlasso was hoping, it seems, that copyright owners wouldn’t notice that there was an outside company controlling and making money on their materials, so happy they would be with the popularity of the clips. Bzzt!
Sony is an established company, but still… if this kind of product ever ends up working in movie theaters as alternative programming – and the resistance for the last decade has been irrefutable – then won’t each studio with a distribution arm seek to built their own outlets for material, replicating the structure of theatrical distribution now?
And can Warners make people more anxious to buy DVDs by spending more on specific production for those DVDs? Well… weren’t these called extras for the last decade? Ah… it’s different… it’s better. Yes. And it’s much more expensive. And in this case, it might work. And 95% of the public doesn’t want to hear a director’s commentary on a dumb rom-com 95% of the time…. they want to see the movie… they want it for a price… and yes, on huge, culty movies, you can bend the public over and screw them until they bleed and they will come back for more. I’m not sure this is a breakthrough.
The thing is, everyone is reaching for new revenue streams, leaping into the fray, hoping that being first will mean being successful before anyone else gets wise.


3 Movies Blur Into One

Had it occured to anyone else that Baghead seems to be the comedy version of The Strangers and that both seem to be channeling a less outrageous version of Funny Games?
Or is it just me?


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire