The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2010
Apatow developing Pee-wee Herman pic
Pee-Wee has finally gotten into high school. He is mocked by the other kids because of his relentlessly upbeat personality and his need to shave 4 times a day to avoid the appearance of a beard.
When the sweet, shy girl who sits two seats away from him (Jessica Alba) drops her books, Pee-Wee helps. He tells her about his new bike. She tells him about her new bong. Thinking that this “bong” is some kind of bike horn, he agrees to come see it.
When he arrives, the house is full of smoke and stoned friends. It turns out that she is an emancipated minor who made a bundle as a a commercial actress when she was between 6 and 8. Pee-Wee, refusing to smoke, gets a contact high within minutes. Before you know it, Shy Girl has his pants off, is impressed by his surprisingly John Holmes-like male member, and ends up smashing his head against the headboard of her bed as she takes advantage of him and he imagines various talking animals floating above, telling him it’s going to be okay.
The next morning, he wakes up in his bed, pajama tops on, but no bottoms.
Cut to month later… Shy Girl has news. She’s pregnant and it’s Pee-Wee’s. He isn’t sure what she is talking about. But Jamby and Mappy know.
They go to the OB, where Pee Wee sees Shy Girl’s vagina out fo the corner of his eye and passes out.
From then on, he is more careful to focus on the monitors and things go surprisingly well… until he finds out that he has cancer.
With just weeks to live, he decides he needs to go find EG Daily and figure out where it went wrong for them. She was the one who really loved him… and his bike.
It turns out that EG is now played by Leslie Mann and is married to a newly thin Seth Rogan, who is a pot dealer in Santa Fe. Pee Wee eventually surprises her with his unexpected manhood. But it turns out she is cheating on her husband with a few other guys… one representing her lost sexual side (James Franco), one representing her dream of being a poet (a fully naked Jason Segal), another biker guy who is married to an Oscar winner (Jesse James), and Pee-Wee, who represents the lost bike years.
Pee Wee goes back home and faces the now about-to-give-birth Shy Girl. She has decided on a natural birth with no drugs, but her delivery room is filled with pot smoke, easing her pain. When the baby comes out, he’s wearing a bow tie… and a head full of extremely curly hair. A knowing wink from Jonah Hill sets up a sequel.
End credits over Pee Wee trying to change his first diaper. Feces and urine fly… hilarity ensues.
I was thinking about it the other day and it struck me that Twilight is, perhaps, the niche-iest phenomena ever.
I’m not discounting its existence. But it seems to me that those who care are insanely rabid – including Bryce Dallas Howard, whose talk show stories about her feeling about the books before she was case are a little scary – and those who are not have absolutely no connection to the material whatsoever. None.
Am I just projecting? It’s possible. Having seen the second film in a theater and bought the Blu-ray of the first film, I have less interest in this series than I do in, say, who is fighting who in WWE Wrestling this weekend.
When I saw the trailer for the last two Harry Potter movies and they referred to it as the movie event of a generation, I scratched my head a little. Really? And really, it may not be an overstatement. And The Twilight Saga is, it seems, the event of a generation of girls and part of a generation of women over 20.
The 30% difference, it seems to me, is all the people outside of the heavily-committed niches for both of these series, who are willing to be dragged along to the beautifully-made, pleasant Potter, but require before-and-after sexual favors or a sleeping pill or a lot of ice cream to get them in to see any Twilight film.
I know some object to my use of the word “niche” to describe a specific group that can power a film to $700m worldwide. But that is what it is. A movie might motivate as much as 10% of a niche, normally, in finding great success. But when a series like Twilight or a family film that seems to be overperforming can inspire its niche to a large percentage of participation, if drawing no one else, that is when you can get these massive numbers, disconnected utterly from the rest of society.
We had this discussion about whether this movie of that movie influences culture or not, whether The Dark Knight or Avatar. I would argue that both of those films found a much broader audience than Twilight… or Harry Potter, for that matter. And still, the question of being influential is still complicated.
The never reliable Daily Mail (UK) published some story about Sarah Jessica & The Girls giving up on any future Sex & The City films. The source… “Grazia.”
Simple math. The film, however hideous, grossed about $250 million worldwide.
SJP is the only member of this group that may ever see a seven-figure offer again… or in recent years.
So… it’s simple. If she wants S&TC 3 to happen, it will. If not, not.
To make it happen, she’ll need to do the film for the same – or maybe less – than the first feature. The budget will have to fit a projected $150 million worldwide gross. And if she is willing to do it for that, it will happen.
By the way, no SJP-starring film, other than Sex, has ever grossed as much as that $150m. It would still be a big movie for her too.
Pay $1 million per for the other three women, scale and back-end for SJP… below the line of $30 million… and voila, you have a movie.
And you know what? With less ego and less money, there is some chance that they will find the spirit of the series again.
One problem perhaps worth mentioning… if they wait too long or not long enough, the whole thing will dry up. In 20 years, they can do a revival with the four women watching 20something women do what 20something women are doing then. Or they can do S&TC3 in 2014, at the latest.
Part of the problem is that these actresses are already a little (okay…maybe more than a little) stuck in between young and old. I would probably take a leap in time that doesn’t match reality, and give Charlotte and Miranda teens or at least pre-teens as Carrie gives birth at 45. Endless sexual ennui just isn’t very attractive in women of that age… even for women of that age… at least at the movies.
Someone is out there selling the idea that neither Lionsgate nor Summit would be paying itself for marketing and distribution under a pseudo-merger agreement with MGM.
There are reasons for MGM debt holders to prefer this group or that.
Spyglass’ last 10 released films were; Get Him to the Greek, Leap Year, Invictus, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Star Trek, Four Christmases, Flash of Genius, Ghost Town, The Love Guru, Wanted
Lionsgate’s last 10 release were; Killers, Kick-Ass, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?, From Paris with Love, The Spy Next Door, Daybreakers, Brothers, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Saw VI, More Than a Game
Sumit’s last 10 releases were; Letters to Juliet , Furry Vengeance, Remember Me, The Ghost Writer, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Astro Boy, Sorority Row, Bandslam, The Hurt Locker, The Brothers Bloom
Which business do you see as the one that can rebuilt the studio’s image enough to make it a more attractive library target?
Spyglass distributing through Sony or Paramount – pretty much the range of likely distributors for them – means that MGM/Spyglass product can have a distributor that is in the business of releasing movies full-time. It also means a distributor that has shown the ability to take a film gross over $100 million on a consistent basis. This is no small thing.
Neither Summit nor Lionsgate will be absorbed by MGM. Neither is likely to keep the current production, distribution, or marketing teams in place. So in terms of distribution and marketing, the question is, do you want Sony or Paramount selling your movies or do you want Summit or Lionsgate doing that job?
MGM will not be any more than a glorified production company no matter who they choose. No one – and no one on the horizon – wants to make the studio whole. There is too much baggage… as I have been saying forever.
MGM remains a good play for Summit because it would give them a place to put their Twilight cash and they can keep building. It’s fine for Lionsgate, so long as they don’t take on funding responsibilities and get an outside fund that allows them to make more movies, spread out their expenses, and own a piece of The Lion in the end, if things work out. Spyglass is also there for a piece of the library for pretty much doing what they have been doing for a long while.
My bet is on Spyglass with Sony distributing and, in the end, perhaps finding a way back to the MGM library itself.
Finally, despite ongoing efforts to spin Peter Jackson into some sort of leaf in the wind regarding The Hobbit… he’s always been there… he’s not fully committed… it’s not just about money… and as everyone who knows what’s going on with this situation – except for the person claiming a scoop – knows, MGM is the central problem that sent Guillermo packing. The Hobbit will happen, with Peter directing or not. But if it doesn’t happen this fall, it probably won’t happen until 2013 or 2014. Jackson does not want to leave WB hanging in the breeze for their investment to date… but there is only so far they can push the start date. Jackson has been very clear about wanting to make the previously mentioned release dates.
Yes, the legal work for whomever MGM settles on will take months. But there is a point at which the Hobbit/Bond machine can move forward if serious committments are made. Those films are the carrot. Now someone needs to figure out how to use the stick without sticking themselves in the eye, because if Hobbit does push to 2014, the entire effort to move the studio forward could fall apart and debt holders could be forced to face the harsh reality of the company’s current value.
I was reading John Anderson’s story on Vikram Jayanti’s brilliant The Agony & The Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which I loved 18 months ago at IDFA, then wrote about last April after it appeared on BBC2, and the piece was moving along, telling a story about how tightly Spector controlled his library, then…
“The film employs a greatest-hits collection of 21 Spector songs, played or performed in their entirety. And it does so without having obtained Mr. Spector
PARAMOUNT PICTURES IS FIRST TO CROSS $1 BILLION AT THE DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE IN 2010
The actual fact: Paramount Marketing is the first studio marketing group to generate a domestic gross of over $1 billion this year.
I hate these stats. The idea of market share in the movie business – especially domestic only – or hitting $1 billion is a throwback to the pre-VHS movie universe. Silliness.
That said, of all the majors, Paramount has had the leanest year, in terms of movies that the studio produced or financed. Specifically, none of the three big hits are anything but service deals with the studio for distribution and marketing. Remove the two DreamWorks Animated films (8%) and Marvel’s Iron Man 2 (10%) and the studio has generated under $256m with movies that Paramount has produced, the biggest of which is Shutter Island, which was produced in-house.
In fact, I believe that Paramount, with the three big hits, is the only major other than Universal with MacGruber, that has done any service deals for a domestic studio release this year. So Sony (not counting Screen Gems) is the second lowest domestic grosser of the majors so far this year, with about $300 million on in-house movies. Universal is third from the bottom with about $350m. Disney is near $800m. WB is around $850m. And on top is Fox, with just short of a billion… all from movies in which the studio invested.
Now… Paramount will earn about $122 million from their three big hits, on theatrical distribution and marketing fees alone. They will make more on Home Ent. So it’s not nothing.
But when Fox hits $1 billion – today, perhaps – it will not only earn distribution fees, but a lot of profit on the 4 highly profitable hits… not to mention the losses on their three films on which they may need to eat a loss. (Three other films are somewhere right near breakeven or minor loss or slight profitability.)
Disney and Warners are also likely to pass The Full Billion by the end of July as well.
I don’t know. Maybe I am not being fair to Paramount. But I just think that these kind of stats need context and their context is not like any other studio… until Disney starts emulating it in earnest in 2011.
I appreciate that Tony Sella went on record and that Patrick Goldstein gave him a place to do it, regarding the opening of Knight & Day.
Bur here is where I have a problem.
Valkyrie opened to $21 million. It was sold as an action movie, albeit a WWII action movie, That is where Tom Cruise has been the strongest. It also opened on a holiday Thursday.
Knight & Day opened to a 3-day of $20 million. It is a romantic comedy with action, not an action movie, as such. This is uncharted territory for Cruise and not a genre variation that has a history of big numbers. No holiday.
“Knight and Day, the supposed sure-thing romantic action comedy that did a belly flop at the box office”
“(T)he actor successfully opened 2008’s Valkyrie“
Virtually the same opening… and Tom Cruise trying to kill HItler is NOT “a far more questionable commercial genre” than Tom Cruise trying to be Cary Grant. In fact, the genre Knight & Day was trying for is infinitely more difficult to pull off and sell.
And let’s not forget, MGM spent every dollar Fox did, if not more, selling their movie. It’s not like Valkyrie was some great underdog success. It did $200 million worldwide… and lost money because they spent so much marketing it to that number and because they wildly overspent on the action drama. That’s why, really, Bryan Singer is back at Fox overseeing X-Men movies.
Look… I’m not saying that anyone should be over the moon about the K&D opening. They would have been a lot happier at $35m than $20 million. But that said, you need to have some perspective on history and not the ideas that stick in your head based on your personal perspective. Fox wasn’t aiming at a stronger foregn version of What Happens In Vegas. They spent a lot more on it.
But I am constantly surprised by what gets picked as DISASTER and what gets a pass, even being called a success. And Tony Sella is right… the movie could get to $100 million domestic. Or at least $80m domestic. Or maybe it won’t.
I’ve been saying it for years… and while some old media pays lip service, few have heeded the warning.
Entertainment Media is a canary in the overall media coal mine. We are the least carefully edited, most news content dubious, too close to the talent group in virtually any newsroom. But if you look away when the entertainment media goes rogue, it will eventually trickle up to “real” journalism.
And so it did with the Rolling Stone story on General McChrystal and his aides.
I have gone on about this before, but another twist in the tale was examined by David Carr in the New York Times today. It seems that didn’t print their magazine or post the story to the web fast enough for everyone. So a preview pdf of the magazine was passed around, beyond the intended group, and eventually published by Time.com and Politico.
Several commentators suggested that Rolling Stone brought this on itself by not immediately publishing the McChrystal article on its own site (the magazine had planned to publish online but on its own schedule).
This week, Anthony Breznican and I discuss The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, rumors that Peter Jackson is set to direct The Hobbit, and the possible move of the Oscars to January.
I was struck in recent days that some EXCLUSIVES from Deadline Hollywood/New York that were bylined by Mike Fleming sounded an awful lot more like Nikki, both in style and in source.
Looking on the site, I noticed that Mike has been, in the last couple of weeks, reporting all of the Major Studio stories… and Nikki has been bylined in none, with the exception of box office.
Fleming ran a piece on Sony & Spider-Man, clearly not intended by Sony to get out, but Nikki has friends who gossip loosely close to people who usually feed her the inside story they want out there.
Same with the Hobbit story, that was 100% planted by an interested party – who seems very likely to be at WB – and is not accurate as regards the central subject, Peter Jackson. And of course, neither Jackson and his manager were contacted prior to this gossip running, leaving Team Jackson scratching their collective heads and trying to figure out who was playing games.
(Harry Knowles wrote a piece about both stories and got right what Deadline didn’t… because he actually spoke to principles in both stories, though he quotes neither of his rather obvious sources by name.)
Another odd, inflammatory, studio-source-talking-shit piece was Fleming on the possibility of Paramount getting cold feet on Mission:Impossible 4. So Nikki. So Paramount. Not very Fleming.
Same with the Footloose press release hour-long EXCLUSIVE.
The was even a TOLDJA! on a Lionsgate story with Fleming’s byline.
Meanwhile, Nikki is covering Lionsgate, Summit, The Weinsteins, talent agencies, the futures trading idiocy, Broadcasting & Cable re-reports on Comcast and other Comcast bashing in the name of one of the biggest Nikki Whisperers, Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro, YouTube/Viacom, IMAX, DC Comics, Oscar gossip, Dish Network, WGA, and CBS.
Much of her content is admittedly from (EXCLUSIVE!?!?) press releases by ticket sellers, Summit’s Twilight hype machine, and a number of entries covering the very, very important Harry Potter ride in Florida.
But oddly, not a single solo-byline about a Major Studio from Nikki since she shilled for Paramount’s deal with Redbox on June 15 and the press release that The Last Airbender was moving its release by a day on the morning of the 16th.
It’s not that Fleming hasn’t been busy doing his own work. Stories like a new NY Times Magazine editor… lots of agency signings and deals, primarily leaning on writers… UTA signing spanish-language filmmakers… some spec sales… Fernando Meirelles… a Matt Damon casting… a Night writer deal… a middle manager spinning a studio job exit… Broadway… Graham King… Ruben Fleischer’s deal at Sony… the comedic spin on the marketing turnover at Screen Gems… etc… all sound very, very Mike Fleming.
Overreaching gossip that’s being planted by studio higher-ups? Not really his style. Very Nikki.
I wrote to Nikki:
Subject: Asking in advance, as per your request…
Are you off the major studio beat for your site?
I have been noticing a number of EXCLUSIVE stories under Fleming’s byline – even a Toldja! – that I would normally expect to be coming from you. So I started looking backwards and realized that with the exception of a couple of co-bylined stories, you haven’t written a non-box office word about a single major (MGM doesn’t count) since 11 days ago.
I am pretty sure who handed you the Spider-Man story over the weekend… not Amy or anyone intentionally putting it out there. But I don’t think there is anyone who would be sharing that gossip with Fleming. Same with stuff at WB and Paramount… unless you have them going to Fleming instead of you now… unlikely.
I’m going to write something. I will be clear that I am speculating. Your angry denial is welcome.
“As usual your information is wrong. Everyone in Hollywood but you knows I am very much on the beat and reporting behind the scenes of Deadline and on the website of Deadline.”
Okay… but not really a direct answer to my question. Or maybe it was more informative that it seems at first.
“reporting behind the scenes of Deadline,” is kind of a head scratcher.
I followed up:
“Exactly my point, Nikki.
I know it’s you getting the info. The question is why you aren’t publishing any of it under your name lately?”
“Again you’re wrong.
From Nikki Finke
Well, I am factually correct. She has not been publishing stories about The Majors under her byline in the last 10 days.
Is she feeding Fleming? For the benefit of the site? For the benefit of her studio keepers, who know that Fleming is taken more seriously than Nikki as a straight-player?
Did Paramount and WB suddenly stop calling Nikki and start calling Mike instead? Because if they did, and it wasn’t Nikki’s idea, you would hear the cursing screams from wherever you are reading this right now.
I don’t have the answer.
Maybe it’s her owner. Maybe it’s an unspoken response to the Village Voice suggesting an FTC violation coming from her being paid by Time-Warner while writing about their businesses. Maybe it’s her idea of how to build the Mike Fleming brand so her page doesn’t read like a trade paper laundry list. I don’t know.
Nikki and Mike know. A few executives who covet their ability to leverage Deadline know. None of these people have any motivation to cough up the truth anytime soon… a truth that could be, as noted above, innocent.
And you know, we’ll see if Nikki goes back to doing solids for Paramount and Warners and Universal (aside from slamming Comcast) tomorrow. It could happen.
A very Sandler opening. I was wrong about the weekend multiple based on the Friday open. And if you look at Sandler’s history, this estimate is a pretty good fit. In his comedies, he’s consistently a little below 3x Friday. The Sunday drop-off on Zohan was deep, so we’ll see tomorrow whether this estimate of Friday as 35% of the weekend is a little generous about Sunday.
It also reminds us of just how amazingly consistent Sandler is, with a lot of friends in support or not. $34m – $47m seems like a wide range, but when you are the clear front man in your oeuvre 10 times in 12 years and you stay inside that range so consistently, it’s pretty remarkable. Yes, he has paid for reaching into drama and even into family fare. And he still only has three $100 million grossers overseas… and just barely at that. But you can pretty much rely on a $120m gross from his films when he doesn’t stray.
My sense on Knight & Day is that Cruise realized he had some make-up to do and focused and went out to kick some publicity butt. To see him on Leno and Kimmel on back-to-back nights was a surprise. To see him in SportsCenter promos was… well… shocking. The problem for Fox is that the wave of publicity really broke too late. They needed to do the Tom rehab in May for the June release.
That said, the burial of the movie and Mr. Cruise is overstated. This is one of two openings with Cruise up front since Mission:Impossible 3. And as hard as they pressed Valkyrie, if you look at the 5-day vs the 3-day as a complicated distinction (which I do), you could argue that Knight is further along than Valkyrie at the end of its opening weekend. And now… word of mouth will become the issue.
Without comparing the quality of Knight to Jerry Maguire, it is instructive to note that it is the only other romantic comedy with action or rom-com af any stripe in Cruise’s career. This was a surprise to me when I noticed it. And Maguire opened to $17m and followed openings of $37m and $45m for Interview With The Vampire and Mission: Impossible. I don’t think Knight will do anything close to the 9x multiple that Maguire did. And it’s worth noting that Maguire is one of his weakest showing internationally. But let’s all take a breath and let history happen before deciding it’s outcome. I know this is not what people are doing these days, but…
Toy Story 3‘s estimated 47% drop is actually quite good when considered amongst the ranks of movies that open to over $100 million (we’re up to 16). It’s right in line with the Alice in Wonderland and the Thanksgiving-supported Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire holds, not as good as the Memorial Day Weekend enhance Shrek 2 drop, but better than every other $100m+ opener except the original Spider-Man. After 10 days, it’s behind Shrek 2‘s number by only $10 million an di sjust behind where Finding Nemo was after 4 weekends. So… things are good.
How to Train Your Dragon passes Kung Fu Panda tomorrow to become DreamWorks Animation’s biggest non-Shrek movie ever. And TS3 will probably pass Shrek Forever After on the all-time animation list (if not tomorrow, Tuesday).
Showtime has to feel pretty good about having Oliver Stone’s documentary series coming, probably late this fall, after such a solid opening for his doc, South of the Border, which slightly out-per-screened Restrepo in spite of being on a subject that has a very small natural following. Both films are very much worth the time and money.
Please Give is doing pretty well, but it looks, in the end, to be heading to a similar gross to Nicole Holofcener’s Lovely & Amazing. In the end, the indie world is being reminded that Jennifer Aniston (in the $13.4 million grossing Friends With Money) in a french maid’s outfit and threatening to have sex on camera is worth about $7 million at the box office. I don’t know if this is a good lesson or not. But a lesson it is.
So Team Sandler strikes again. His best opening going into this weekend was The Longest Yard, with $47.6 million. Grownups will be in that vicinity, probably setting a new high for Sandler.
It’s no mystery. The ads have been goofy and sweet, found female appeal, and brought together five guys who each have fans. Somehow, even the guys staring at some girl’s bent-over ass -and utterly sexist moment and a truly remarkable rear end – is somehow sweetened by the age of the men and the desperate nature of children with their nose pressed up against candy store glass.
Team Cruise.. not so much. The 3-day will probably be a little better than Killers. The 5-day will put Knight & Day around Date Night after the first weekend. The hope, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, of expanding to a 5-day is to get a sampling in for a movie that Fox likes and with which they knew they were having a hard time getting women on board. I imagine they are hoping to get to a What Happens In Vegas result, with some more muscular numbers overseas. We’ll see.
Toy Story 3 hits $200m today, and it will be in the all-time top ten for gross-per-day for days 8, 9, and 10, surpassing anything this year, though not by a massive amount. The big showdown for the domestic outcome of the film will take place this week, when we will find out if The Last Airbender eats into TS3’s business much, both as a kid film-vs-kid film battle, but 3D vs 3D as well. I’m sure Paramount sees July 4 weekend as their private slot, with Trannys and War of the Worlds, but it seems that they would have been smarter to go out a weekend later with Airbender.
Shrek Forever After is done. Interestingly, it is less off of the Shrek 3 (about $90m) than 3 was off of S2 ($120m) at the domestic box office. Of course, the big Shrek money is overseas, where the last two films did an almost identical number, around $475m. Another waiting game.
The Karate Kid will pass Bad Boys II domestically in the next week and is also wary of Airbender… probably more so than TS3 is. Still, $170 million domestic is not a reach and closing in on the film going to profit on that alone. And the film is waiting for the answer from the rest of the world.