The Hot Blog Archive for August, 2010

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 10!

We were wondering how large graphics could be in this new blog design, so I decided to run a test. And who better to be the test rabbit than the co-star of tomorrow’s release, The American, Violante Placido?

There were more graphic images… and not inappropriate to this film… but this one, I thought, captured what she brings to the film without being… well, you know, it’s just a human body… we all have body parts… uh… God works in mysterious ways.


BYOB: Feeling A Little More At Home?

So… bigger fonts, Recent Comments, a direct link to Hot Blog from anywhere on the site…

Day by day…


Idiotic Trend Story #277 (this year)

Steven Zeitchik, the LA Times’ movie reporter least likely to get a fact straight, came up with a laughable story, “With ‘Avatar’ struggling, is the bloom off the rerelease rose?

Uh, Stevie… what re-release rose?

Grease Sing-Along… this year’s only studio re-release before Avatar… just over $300,000.

Even the Toy Storys, 15 and 11 years old, in digital and 3D for the first time, in anticipation of TS3… just over $30m domestic last fall.

Are we still living with the excitement of Star Wars being re-released 13 years ago, when there had been almost no availability for the title over the 20 years since it was released? That was the same year they re-released The Godfather and it did $1.3 million.

Is it The Exorcist, about 10 years ago, being re-released after 30 years with new footage? That was the same year they re-released Blood Simple and Rear Window and did $1.5m and $1.7m each.

It’s a remarkable reach to turn a positive into a negative, writing that Avatar, “grossed only about $4 million despite playing on more than 800 screens.” Didn’t seem to think it was worth mentioning that it was the 3rd biggest per-screen, with or without the 3D bump, behind only the two brand new hits.

Of course, the piece is mostly onanism. Stevie doesn’t forget about The Godfather. “When “The Godfather” came out in 1997 after being away from theaters for 25 years, it felt like an event; no matter how well we remembered the movie or how many times we watched it on basic cable, seeing it on the big screen brought memories for those lucky enough to catch it there the first time and created that experience for those who weren’t.”

So you get it now? If Steven likes the movie, $1.3 million is An Event… even if the studio saw it as massively disappointing in the reflection of Star Wars’ $128 million. But if Stevie doesn’t like the movie, a $4 million first weekend is a “struggle.”

Who is editing this guy? Glenn Beck?


Blu-n Away

In the last week, I got a bunch of Blu-ray announcements… and it felt like a feast…

And then there was this dump… which was also kinda cool… like a Geek wish list, headed by three new releases…

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Into The Breach


There are all kinds of kinks being handled this morning, from font sizes to graphic tweaks you’ll see in the weeks to come to making it easy for people who don’t have Word Press accounts to get them, so they can comment. (Add: There will even be line spacing in The Hot Blog!!!)

The toys I am most excited about are the MCN Newslinks, which give you all the headlines most of you could ask for, split by topic, the Movie Pages, which are still developing, but will offer all kinds of content for each film as we move into the future, and the “MCN Tweets” Twitter feed should be fun. It will remain conversational. We have other tools to promote content. We’d like this to be, along with blogs, headlines, and feature articles. another layer of the conversation… and immediate one.

Okay… I’m diving back into the test drive… again, welcome… and thanks for your patience.


Welcome To The New Home Of The Hot Blog

There will be a tour… soon.

For now, just a welcome. Come in, have a seat, and take a look around. It’s new for all of us.


BYOB – The Transition

The new site, including THB, is online…but not everywhere… including in my home.
So… in the meanwhile…


DP/30 – 100% of Emmy Nominees DP/30ed Win The Emmy

Of course, we only shot one…congrats Aaron…
mp3 of the conversation

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DP/Sneak – Emma Stone Stalks Keri Russell


The Last Weekend Estimates by Klady (on this version of the blog)

The trajectory of The Last Exorcism is pretty classic, opening stronger than the rest of the weekend would be. On the other hand, the trajectory of Takers, going up on Saturday, is a little bit of a surprise. According to Len’s numbers, they’ll be battling into “actuals” for first place. Both companies will see $20m openings for this product as a win.

The Expendables will become Lionsgate’s #2 all-time domestic grosser by this time next week, behind only F9/11.

The Other Guys becomes Will Ferrell’s 4th $100m comedy in the last 5 years and #5 overall in his career, crossing the line tomorrow or Tuesday. Three of the last four were at Columbia. Perhaps Paramount will let Sony make Anchorman 2, since they don’t seem to want to do so.

Inception continues to chug along, overseas in particular. It’s closing in on $650m worldwide this weekend. So profits, while all coming out of post-theatrical revenues, will be significant, pushing past The Twilight Saga: Eclipse to be the #3 film of the summer and #1 for the year without 3D.

Sometime this week, Despicable Me will pass Shrek 4 to be the #2 animated film of the summer. Toy Story 3 won’t pass Shrek 2 to be the biggest domestic animated film of all time – at least, not without a serious re-release, which is likely precluded the DVD release -and it seems highly unlikely to pass Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for biggest international animated film of all time. But by being so strong in both domestic and foreign… and having a 3D bump… it is/will be the biggest worldwide animated film by 14% – $17%

Speaking of 3D and re-releases, very solid numbers of the Avatar re-release.


Some Things Old, Some Things New…

This, I expect, is the last Hot Blog entry that will look like this.
As MCN changes, so changes The Hot Blog. And for the better, I hope. Sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, the new MCN site will launch… sure to have its quirks and corrections to come… with some of our past and future still in the process of being settled in, whether because of complex coding or a deep well of material from the past. But here we go…
I think the new URL for this blog will be, but until we’re live, I won’t even be 100% sure of that.
What I do know is that content has been and will be king at Movie City News. And while we will continue to do everything we currently do – DP/30 will be streaming, after all these years – there will be a lot of new ways to get more information from pretty much everyone who covers the movies. And we’re still doing it all without turning OPC (Other People’s Content) into our own.
Anyway… I hope that you all enjoy what’s new and what’s old. I’m sure we’ll hear from you about it, one way or the other.
This site will be here until the switch. So feel free to hang around if you like. I know you’ll all miss the heck out of Movable Type, but what can ya do? If you can’t find the blog, it will be easily found on
See you on the other side.
And with that, here is a look at the visual history of THB… and a small glimpse at what’s next…


How "They" See "Us" Is Endlessly Fascinating


Friday Estimates by Klady

Screen shot 2010-08-28 at 8.30.13 AM.png
The Last Exorcism should end up in the low 20s, which still will make it only the 17th $20m opener in Lionsgate history. It’s starting out just a little behind the company’s The Haunting in Connecticut, which creepy-advertised its way to a $23m start in March of last year. Ironically, they are using Eli Roth’s name to open this film to more than any Eli Roth movie has ever opened.
Of the current 16 LGF $20m domestic openers, 7 are Tyler Perry (which is why For Colored Girls… is a lock to end up in this year’s Oscar race come December), 4 Saws, then Bloody 3D, Forbidden Kingdom, Haunting in CT, F9/11, and The Expandables. Perhaps this parade of success with cheap is why Mr. Icahn doesn’t want the company expanding into more expensive product. The most expensive Liosngate film to gross oevr $50m domestic was 3:10 to Yuma… and that was, basically, an output deal with Relativity. This year’s most expensive pick-ups – From Paris with Love, Kick-Ass and Killers – didn’t crack $50m.
So, excellent job with Exorcism… congratulations to Sarah Greenberg for having baby Sarah Jr exorcised from her womb… and settle this war by knowing what LGF does best and most profitably, not just trying to tell Icahn Daddy that he’s wrong and you’re right.
Takers is classic Screen Gems. Pretty cheap, not to pretty, opened to over $20m. That’s teh way they roll over there. It is possible that this one will end up just short of $20m… but not in the estimates tomorrow morning.
Screen Gems’ highest grossing film is the $80m domestic for Dear John, which doesn’t seem to fit the profile. Normally, it would be Got Johnned, The Exorcism Of John, Underjohn or Resident Death March. But Mr Culpepper is clearly stretching out a bit. And next month, the company has a real chance of breaking its record with another unexpected Screen Gems title… though still at a price. Interesting times.
The third “new” picture in the marketplace is Avatar: The Re-Release, which even taking the 3D bump in consideration (all screens are 3D or IMAX 3D this time) will likely be the #3 per screen wide release of the weekend, with nearly $5000 per or $3500 per if you take 30% off for 3D pricing. That’s still more than a quarter million people leaving their homes to see a film recently released on DVD at premium prices in the weakest box office part of the year. Not bad.
I should say here that I am a little sick to death of the endless whining about 3D and the overstated screeds about 3D slowing going down the toilet. These pieces use the false logic of the Fake Box Office Slump of 2005, in which the survey was so dramatically skewed by The Passion of The Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 the year before (not to mention Shrek 2‘s outlying success… oops, mentioned it) that comparisons the next year were terribly misleading. Now it’s that 3D grosses are down… versus Avatar and then Alice In Wonderland, 2 of the 7 billion dollar grossers of all time.
Wow… Step Up 3D didn’t do Avatar numbers. Shocking. But trying to pin it all on 3D is about as stupid as claiming that a mosque being built near WTC will not upset people… or that it is not in the spirit of this nation to allow it regardless because this nation aspires to being bigger than our differences or our fears. (Yeah… we fail… a lot. So goes the nation.)
It is equally true that relatively big numbers for Resident Evil 3D, Saw 3D and Jackass 3D will not make 3D “happening” again. These may be fun, but basically, they are Star Wars Christmas Specials… stunts with familiar, strong-base franchises.
The real show that 3D as oversized phenomenon is over is the decision not make Sucker Punch a 3D film. I suspect it may have had more to do with ruining the film, which is already a giant visual stunt, so doing a cheap 3D layover would probably diminish the quality significantly. But, still…
I would not be shocked to see Pirates 4 downplay the 3D aspect. Sell the movie. Then let people know, by the way, the film can be seen in 3D. And watch the billion dollar mark fall for the second time in the franchise history. But by then, in spite of Harry Potter, there will be some dead 3D bodies piled up on Hollywood Road… movies that spent the $5m and didn’t get a real return on that money.
Speaking of which… Piranha 3D will be right on the cusp of “was it worth it?”
This is the last Friday box office piece on what will shortly be “the old site.” (Of course, everything is being moved over, including your comments) Weird feeling…


Do Twitter Trends Matter?

Here is the top of Simon Dumenco’s The Most Tweeted Brands of the Week Chart:
#2 and #4 happened to be the #9 and #10 films of this last weekend.
Twitter trends tell you.. what is trending on Twitter.
It’s nice to be talked about. Both films had $5m+ weekends. But both would prefer to have the $12m+ of Vampires Suck or The Expendables than to e trending so well on Twitter. Ya?


Reaction to Netflix on the iPhone

I love Netflix on my iPad and on my TV… but as you can see, this cartoon that RJ Matson did for us in 2008 still captures the fundamental truth about movies on phones.
Then again, the immediacy and fragile lifespan of a live sporting event…


The Hot Blog

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin