The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2008

Gurus o Gold – Darkhorses

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The full charts…

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BYOBox Office

Not at the real computer, so you will have to get numbers on front page, but here is some space to discuss…

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Bagger Goes (A Little) Native

My favorite person to read during Oscar season is David Carr. Too tired of it all to press his nose up against the glass, he sees the dirt in the corner of the panes and keeps it all in perspective.
And then, his first two Hollywood missives of the season

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You Have A $150 Million Movie… Now What?

Only eight movies before Twilight have cracked $100 million domestic from distributors that were not studio-affiliated. And the only company in that group that are still seriously in the distribution business is Lionsgate. And they got their one movie in 9-figures from Miramax, a Disney division. Avco, Newmarket, Orion, USA

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Tracking aside, why would anyone be surprised by the opening of Four Christmases? Last year, Fred Claus got the worst possible reviews on the planet and with Vince Vaughn and the brilliant but not-box-office Paul Giamatti, and opened to $18 million. But even more interesting, This Christmas opened to a $26 million 5-day over Thanksgiving last year. The year before, Deck The Halls (does anyone even remember that film existed?) opened to $12 million. In ’04, the widely slammed Christmas with The Kranks opened to $22 million.
And look at the marketplace. If you want to go to a light comedy that is not for children, what are your options? This is the only movie out there. And then, add on the interest in Christmas movies. And then add Reese Witherspoon to Vince Vaughn. (I would say that WB learned the lesson last year that keeping Rachel Weisz out of Fred ads was a mistake… but 1) they didn’t make this film, and 2) there was no way that Reese Witherspoon, clearly a bigger rom-com draw than Vaughn, wasn’t going to be front & center here.)
Similarly, on the down side, who is so very shocked about Australia?
I mean, you know that the studio is not thrilled. If the film opened two weeks ago, as originally scheduled, this is the kind of weekend they would be expecting a Weekend Three for this film, not opening. But that said

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DP/30 – Kristin Scott Thomas


The star of I’ve Loved You So Long

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DP/30 – Michelle Williams


The star of Wendy & Lucy

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A Ben Button Quickie

I want to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button again before really digging into it. (Idiots who think that “yay” or “nay” is the same as a review deserve the shallow level of thought they embody.)
That said, what is intensely striking about the film, for me, besides the beautiful imagery and fine performances is that there is virtually no conflict in the entire film.
And I think that is what Fincher is chasing these days, artistically. Zodiac, which had more conflict, was certainly trying for a similarly minimalist aesthetic.
It is not an easy task… to make an epic drama with no central or even much secondary conflict. And I am not really sure whether he made it or not.
What I do know is that Slumdog Millionaire – still anticipating Gran Torino and Seven Pounds – is clearly the frontrunner in the Oscar race right now. In this season of mixed feelings, Ben Button is most likely good enough/big enough to be nominated… but is unlikely to win anything in the top categories.
If there is an Ambiguity Bowl, there will be a fight between Button and Rev Road for a Best Picture nomination, while clearer players like Slumdog, Milk, and Frost/Nixon seem much easier to build constituencies for.
And by the way… this film is NOT Forrest Gump in any real way. Everything that made Gump what it was, whether critics or memory likes it or not, is not in evidence here. And that is schmaltz and a character in the lead who while passive is actually an unstoppable forward moving object who pushes through a lot of real obstacles, which Ben Button never has to do in this film.
More next week, after another look

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Review – The Trouble With AUSTRALIA

I love Luhrmann.
I do. I think he is one of those directors who has incredibly good taste, loves to walk on the tightrope without a net (his logo at the top of Australia includes the line

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Documentary Short List

I was away when the list of 15 was released by The Academy

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Thankful '08

It has been a year of much turmoil in this country and in both industries of filmed entertainment and journalism. So much so that a list of my film pleasure thanks seems insanely indulgent. And unfortunately, in this year, far too limited. But it has been a tradition for a long time and one that gives me some perspective and no small amount of pleasure. And so

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BYOB – Return to L.A. (again)

I’ll be out of circulation for the next 20 hours or so… everyone play nice… have some conversations that are smarter than The Hot Blog deserves!

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Raddon Resigns

I don’t have the time to get into this in any detail, as I am about to catch a plane. And to quickly throw something up would be unfair. But I wanted to leave a space where people can discuss it if they like. And here it is…

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The Two Big Take Homes Of IDFA

The films here in Amsterdam have been quite good. I am sad to be headed home before seeing more of them

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Quickie on Hancock Blu

When the disc arrived, promising two versions (and a free digital download), I threw it in the PS3 immediately and took a look.
Yes, the infamous sex scene is in the

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas