The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2013

Friday Estimates by Ice Ice Klady

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 10.10.19 AM

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Things I Am Thankful For: Episode 17 (2013)

I’m Thankful To wake up almost every morning with my wife and my near-4-year-old son by my side. That’s really the size of the world that matters most, even with the Blackberry close at hand, ready to connect me to anyone who might be trying to expand that worldview, with hundreds of channels of satellite TV and Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and Apple TV and Roku and the Google Dongle, with Twitter beckoning, and the world outside creaking with the sound of morning.

I Thank the friends I know, the friends who are really right there, and more and more, the friends I have never met. I am afforded a degree of anonymity in my work, especially via DP/30, where I haven’t been on camera in years. In years past, there were times where the lack of personal branding was uncomfortable. But now, each time I see a “I don’t know who this guy is, but…” comment, I feel like I am closer to my mission statement. There is ego in my work. More when I was younger and anxious to become a known quantity, if only in a small swath of my chosen turf. But as entertainment journalism has become mostly ego, most of the time… I am pleased to offer up the work without it being about me and my self-promotion. Particularly with DP/30, I feel like I am offering something of value to viewers (and sometimes, to talent), as best I can, without the singular focus on what is in it for me.

I Am Thankful For a tremendous movie year, scooped—as it now too often is—from the crapfest of the first half of the year. Of all the wide releases, I count The Place Beyond The Pines, Mud (950 screens), Spring Breakers, and The Great Gatsby as the only films really worth any more consideration than the time spent/wasted viewing them before July. (Admittedly, I did not see Now You See Me or The Croods, which have some love in some quarters.)

Thank GOD For independent films and distributors. It’s a somewhat nasty business right now. After all the posturing in indieland, making fun of the exhibitors for demanding respect of their window, indie is still struggling with windows and how to balance VOD, PPV, and theatrical to best effect (mostly on films that have a legit chance at finding a bigger audience). But there are many long-established distributors out there, still working their asses off, and more new companies trying to figure it all out than I ever recall. As a result, more interesting movies of quality are getting some distribution. And some of that distribution is painful. There are some awfully good movies that are getting lost in the new, evolving system. And there are “elements” in many of the breakouts that threaten to create an era of chasing the wrong things in indie, just as they did when “Sundance films” all started to look the same for a number of years. The good part is, we know the intentions are good… or at least, better than the wide-release distributors (though the evil of big distributors is overstated endlessly by writers and critics, young and old).

We All Should Thank the directing iconoclasts, from David O. Russell to Richard Linklater to The Coens to Harmony Korine to Abdellatif Kechiche to Lars von Trier (who has made an impact this year with trailers/clips alone) to Baz to Denis Villeneuve to The Retired One to Joshua Oppenheimer to Steve McQueen to Jeff Nichols and on and on… even to the mainstreamers like Ron Howard and Scorsese, who continue to stretch their comfort zone while members of The Senior Circuit.

I Am Thankful To all the people in the film business out there who are just doing their danged jobs. It’s not that they don’t have a passion. But there are a lot of people, even at the VP level, who are keeping the trains running. They face a lot of obstacles every day, many of which are just other people trying to do their jobs. But it’s not easy. And a lot of them lost their jobs this last year. But they are the backbone of the whole thing. As I get older, watching the ebb and flow of talented executives, publicists, marketers, etc, I get more philosophical about this. I can almost always tell the ones that are going to make it and rise in all this mess… they’re the ones who are there to make things happen, no matter how hard it gets, how obnoxious the “talent,” however many times the spouse needs an apology. There are a lot of Good People who work in this business of bullshit. They not only make my life easier… they give my soul comfort.

Thank You, Megan Ellison. I do not know you, as you don’t care to be known by me. That’s okay. I dig you anyway. It cannot often be said that The Money makes the movie world a better place. But you have invested the money in the best ways possible. And all of our movie lives are richer for you having taken in interest in making movies.

I Am Thankful For the embrace of so many people—personal publicists, studio publicists, talent—that have allowed DP/30 to become a 200+ episode a year internet series. The range of interest varies, from great enthusiasm to going with the movie publicity flow to complete disinterest. But the needle keeps moving towards the better part of that scale as the years go by. It requires a fair amount of trust to put talent on camera for 30 minutes without a break or a more traditional set of expected questions. But I think that many of these folks, who have truly intimate relationships with the talent with whom they work, understand that in filmed entertainment, it is very rare to fully disappear inside a character. No journalist knows this talent as well as the people they work with daily. And who these actors and directors and writers and composers and so on are does matter. It’s not about ripping away the facade or getting so close that the public knows what personal hygiene choices they make. It’s about the work and the passion that allows people to make a life doing the work they do. The format is loose and not always magical. But when we’re all on the same page, good things almost always happen. The effort it truly appreciated. (Extra thanks to the publicists at a couple of the studios that don’t really prioritize these interviews, but keep fighting for them to be included on the schedules. You know who you are… and even though things don’t always work out, the effort to fight the disinterest is truly appreciated.)

Many Thanks To The Gurus o’ Gold, who participate each week in our consensus chart. We were the first of these samplers and, I like to think, still the best one… because we have the best of the best, even as Oscar prognosticators seem to be procreating like bunnies.

I Thank whatever drives Amy Adams to push herself into new places in her work. Amy herself said in a Q&A that she admires Jennifer Lawrence’s fearlessness (for which I thank some higher power). But after taking a big step into her own darkness with Paul Thomas Anderson, she’s taken another daring step forward with David O. Russell and an actor who could have rested on her spot as one of America’s Sweethearts is taking steps into a rangey, really exciting career (with a lot of years to come). There have been a number of new discoveries and revelations this year, but when a vertran turns a corner (also see: Scarlett Johansson), it is especially thrilling.

I Am Always Thankful To the legacy players that led to this moment, from Scott Safon and the late great Andy Jones to Laura Rooney to the current right hand of MCN, Ray Pride… and all the contributors to the site. I am not a one-man band. Never have been. Whether it’s Michael Wilmington or Len Klady doing weekly entries or Ray doing the daily headlines or my cameramen for DP/30, we’re lean and mean and every piece of the puzzle matters.

And as always, I thank you for reading this and anything else you read or watch that I created this year and any other. It is a privilege to have an audience. That doesn’t mean that my audience gets to define me. I’m not Burger King. But if you allow me to either support your ideas, conflict with them, or just have the conversation, you are honoring me with a gift of engagement. And that is about the best gift that anyone can give me. Thanks.

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BYOB 12613

byobturkey

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Weekend Estimates by Effie Trinket

Weekend Estimates 2013-11-24 at 10.43.58 AM

An $8.6 million increase over the first film… 6%… amazingly enough, incremental growth on opening weekend.

Don’t get me wrong… discussed this in depth yesterday… it’s a healthy monster. It’s just not expanding in a significant way.

There was a $125m “deficit” in foreign against domestic on the first Hunger Games. This weekend, internationally, suggests that the rest of the world is now hooked in and we can expect at least 50/50 this time, which would mean at least $125m increase in worldwide when all is said and done. So it may well be an $800 million franchise, not a $700 million franchise.

Oh yeah… and Hunger Games is $8 million behind Thor… well, Thor‘s domestic cume.

NOW… did anything else happen this box office weekend?

ADD (12:06p): Frozen. At Disney/Pacific’s El Capitan. Massive number, pretty close to sold out all weekend, though with ticket prices in the $25 range.

Free Birds had the best hold on the top of the charts… but it’s still a rather soft number, which will be Frozen out later this week.

There are nine awards hopefuls in the Top 25, though none in the top 7 (outside of effects hopes). At top, still, is Gravity with $3.2 million. It’s immediately followed by 12 Years A Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, then Ender’s Game followed by Captain Phillips (passing $100m this weekend). Under $1m for the weekend, The Book Thief, All Is Lost, Nebraska, Enough Said, and Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Nice tiny opening for Philomena. Doesn’t assure anything, though I think this will be a favorite for older audiences for months to come.

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Friday Estimates by Klady On Fire

Friday Estimates 2013-11-23 at 9.28.01 AM
(note: Hunger Games number includes previews)

It may turn out to be something else, but today, The Hunger Games franchise looks like it has its number. The Hunger Games opened to $67.3 million Friday and a $152.5m weekend. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opened to an estimated $68.8 million Friday and a weekend estimate to come tomorrow… but you can be pretty sure it will be between $150m and $160m. In other words, humongous, but not growing.

This is actually a phenomenon of the last 10 years that really wasn’t part of the movie business math before. The number gets set by the first film… often the biggest of the series until the finale… and then the number is up or down a little each time. Hardly worth thinking too hard about. Harry Potter started it. Twilight continued it. Marvel saw it happen at two levels. First, there was a kind of set audience for the two Hulk movies and then, at a higher number, we saw it with Thor and Captain America. Iron Man: The Franchise was the anomaly for Marvel-produced Marvel character films and or course, Avengers made the case that a combination of characters at one gross level could produce a huge number grouped together. Thor: The Dark World is up about 15% over the first film right now, though the lead is thinning a bit as we get farther from the big opening.

The big hope of significantly bigger numbers for these franchises now comes not from an expanding US market for each film, but from international, where the hope/expectation is that somehow the franchise is not as highly valued, but then explodes after theatrical and post-theatrical viewing in the rest of the world. And by #3, it still tends to get static.

None of this is a bad thing. But it’s a big change from, say, Bond, where there was incremental growth on almost every film—until the last one—or alternately, the big bump on the 2nd film followed by a drop off on the 3rd film, or the really old school (pre-dvd sell-thru) slow leak of each sequel to earn enough for profit but always on a downward trajectory. Obviously, there exceptions to all things, but there are trends that are real. Bond and Fast/Furious each got “resets” recently, resetting their expected gross level significantly.

Anyway… odds are pretty good that The Hunger Games franchise will live at this $700 million range… which not coincidentally was the Twilight neighborhood from the 2nd film on. I suspect that the folks at Summitsgate would prefer the kind of worldwide gross doubling that greeted Twilight 2 ($709m) after the first film did $392m. (Rough numbers, people… don’t lose focus.) But that doesn’t seem likely here. They’ll just have to live with $700m grosses and squeezing as many films as they can out of this thing. Coming To A Theater Near You In 2022: Katniss Has Kittens!

The only other wide opening this weekend is The Delivery Man, which is the worst opening over 1000 screens for Vince Vaughn since… ever. I don’t want to bury the guy, but the last $20m+ opening was 2009″s Couple’s Retreat. He still has a following, but if you can’t open to 8 figures, you aren’t an Opener anymore. This is Vaughn’s fourth wide open since Couple’s Retreat. The last three were team-ups and opened between $12.5m and $18m. Solo, it will be under $10m. What that screams to me is that it’s Robert Duvall time… still well liked, still helps a movie open… but not The Big Box Office Kahuna. It happens. See: Jim Carrey.

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NSFW Trailer: Nymphomaniac

Enter into the dark side… including not just nudity, but an explicit flash of fellatio.

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BYOB 111913

byob30minutes

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DP/30: Christian Bale on Out Of The Furnace

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Josh Gad… 2 Great Celebrity Meeting Stories on Kimmel

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DP/30: Chiwetel Ejiofor on 12 Years A Slave

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Weekend Estimates by Len The God of Box Office Estimation

Weekend Estimates 2013-11-17 at 9.54.06 AM

Weekend Box Office Headline You Won’t See: Cranky White Man Beats Happy Black People Into Submission With A 3D Hammer.

My guess is that Disney overdid the overstatement on Sunday’s estimate a little bit, expecting Universal to do the same for their film. I expect that BM2 will come close to its estimate and Thor-er will end up shaving a couple million off of its number in “actuals” tomorrow. But the placement is no surprise. PRECOGNATEDJA!

Ya gotta give it up to CBS Films and queen bee Terry Press. They got Lost Vegas though the first couple weekends with a decent $33.5 million, but now is when this one starts to make its real success happen. Not only is the weekend estimate down just 19%, but the entire week (Sunday-to-Sunday) is off about the same. This is because of… wait for it… old people, aka people over 50. They aren’t opening weekend-driven. But if the word-of-mouth is good, they will start coming in numbers in weekend 3 and 4 and on. LV is already the #2 grosser in CBS Films history and it will be the #1 for the distributor by this time next weekend. But this film could actually hold well enough through Thanksgiving to get into the high 70s or 80s… maybe even passing the $90m mark. There’s really nothing out there for the older audience until Mr. Banks and Walter Mitty. Nor are there family films, except maybe Frozen, to drag old and young to over Thanksgiving weekend.

Another leggy surprise is Bad Grandpa, which is already the #2 Jackass film and now seems sure to be a $100m domestic movie. A 33% hold four weekends in tells you that the core audience for this film is being underserved by the market and that word-of-mouth is terrific for those who like this kind of thing.

Talked about 12 Years A Slave yesterday. What caught my eye today was that Blue Is The Warmest Color, which didn’t start fast out of the gates, is steadily building an audience.

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Friday Estimates by Best Sequel Klady

Friday Estimates (corr) 2013-11-16 at 10.35.41 AM

Sadly, “box office analysis” has become a “who’s in first?” game that really tells the public (almost) nothing about the significance of the box office results every week. Yes, it may not mean much, but if everyone is compelled to do it, why do it so unskillfully?

Thor: The Dark World didn’t only open better than Thor, but it is holding better as well. The opening 3-day gave Thor Dark a $20 million edge and as of Friday’s estimates, it is now a $25m edge. And 2nd Friday vs 2nd Friday, Thee2 has a $1.3 million edge. So tell me… does it matter AT ALL that the film may come in second for the weekend versus a new release?

Of course, it is unlikely that Best Man 2 will end up holding the lead by the end of the weekend. Black audiences are notoriously frontloaded. However, that said, I think that The Best Man Holiday will be leggier than most “urban” movies because of the release date. I expect it to be one of the rarest box office events… a Black film that actually gets a legitimate 3rd week Thanksgiving bump.

Searchlight will try to cut into that hold/bump by releasing Black Nativity the day before Thanksgiving and The Weinstein Company will do a limited release of Mandela the day after Thanksgiving. But I would still look to TBMH to be the feel-good movie for Black audiences over that long weekend.

I am not the first to say it, but this Thanksgiving window is one of the weakest line-ups from Hollywood in a long, long time. I know that distributors fear The Hunger Games, but like Twilight before it, it is a quadrant killer, but not a 4 quadrant killer. Oh, the irony that the other big movie being widely released the day before Thanksgiving is Frozen, which is aggressively designed to reflect the rebooted success of Tangled… aka chasing the girl audience… aka the one quadrant sure to be flooded by Hunger Games mania.

And God bless The Hobbit, but December feels a lot like someone left the multiplex and forgot to turn out the lights. I’m thinking that aside from being a suicide mention for a recently reduced staff, in terms of the marketplace, Paramount could easily have opened both Jack Ryan AND the new Scorsese without overwhelming audiences with too many choices. Mitty and Anchorman 2 are all that are left, really, aside from high quality awards rollouts and Walking With Dinosaurs, which, stunningly, could become the new Chipmunks for lack of any competition for kids eyes in December. (This should also benefit the legs on Frozen.) American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street and Madea’s Christmas should all score, but not mega-numbers. The month feels 3 movies short of a full commercial line-up.

Back to this weekend… nothing too exciting. We can forget about Ender’s Game as a franchise unless foreign is many multiples of domestic, where the gross won’t cover the marketing cost. Gravity, though there are a couple of cases with better numbers in the 8th weekend of release, is really the leggiest October movie in history, given that it’s so far out ahead of the others in this range (Meet The Parents and Look Who’s Talking).

Captain Phillips is getting closer to $100 million.

12 Years A Slave expanded by 267 screens, but is down in gross for the first time. This is a landmark we have seen many times for small films… some that have won Best Picture. Nearing $25m in the bank by the end of this weekend, the real challenge for Fox Searchlight is to keep the train rolling steadily for the next month, until awards nominations and critics group awards come to the rescue. But the truth is, there doesn’t tend to be a huge bump from that December awards parade.

There have only been 5 films that opened as early as October and were not immediate wide releases that got Best Picture nominations (An Education, A Serious Man, Babel, Good Night, And Good Luck., and Sideways). 12 Years is already past the box office ceilings of Education and Serious, so no point in looking at those, really. Babel was at about half the gross of 12 Years at this point and nursed its way through to January nominations when it went wider again after Oscar nods, but only added $13 million for a $34m domestic total. 12 Years is pretty much past that point too. Good Night never got on more than 803 screens at a time, slept through until January’s Oscar nods, and then only added $6 million.

That brings us to Searchlight’s Sideways, which was put into a self-induced coma of under 500 screens until it got its Oscar nominations, only generating $32 million before nominations and then about $40 million after. 12 Years A Slave is already doing better than Sideways. But then again, it has also expanded wider that Sideways did at this point.

So… I don’t know. There is no true comp for 12 Years. It has outperformed the films that “look like it” on paper. But it’s also had the chance to do so. My expectation is that Searchlight will hope for a strong Thanksgiving and then mothball the movie for 6 or 7 weeks, unless the critics show unanimity in early December and there is an increased demand out there. But I think it hits about $32m – $33m by the end of Thanksgiving, then a drop in screens under 1000, then down into the 500 screen range for about 6 weeks, with grosses through December that take it to the low 40s, with a wide expansion the weekend after Oscar nominations. At that point, the bump could be anywhere between $20 million – $50 million, depending on Searchlight’s ability to bring a freshness to that push. I tend to think $75m is about where the film lands… which would be pretty remarkable. Half of the last 8 Best Picture winners did $75m or less domestically. And the other half did over $100 million.

Nebraska opened on 4 screens to about $30k per screen… which is fine… but not definitive in any way.

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State of the Trades: Episode 2

thr1933_650

It’s been 8 whole months since I felt compelled to do a State of the Trades piece.

I wrote then, “So is think the ball is very much in Jay Penske’s court. What will he do now that he has paid for control of the Hollywood trade business? How will he handle his unruly daughter? How much of this is ego and how much is business? Will he overplay his hand and cause the advertisers that are so critical to these business’ futures to retreat?”

And the truth is… nothing much had actually changed.

Yes, I know that Nikki is the headline story and that is all people want to talk about. And one of my questions has been answered… Penske got sick of his unruly daughter. But that was no great surprise, was it?

Penske still has control of the trade business. He is simplifying or dumbing down Variety, depending on your perspective. He still has the reporters who actually did and does what Nikki wanted credit for doing… having his finger on the pulse and reporting it straight. This was never true of Nikki, in my opinion… at least not in the 15 years or so I have “known” her. She has forever been blinded by her emotional limitations, a great hunter who loses track of her prey as she gets distracted by each glimpse of herself in any reflective surface. Her crusades for truth have always been heavily been influenced by a glorified sense of personal vendetta… her own of those of her “friends.” And more recently, she has come under the sway of a parade of Nikki Whisperers, who have used her as the ultimate press tool… someone who seems absolutely unbendable to the public, but is as malleable as pretzel dough before cooking for those who feed her massive/massively fragile ego.

We have seen Nikki Finke’s schtick before. It was called Ain’t It Cool News. When that site launched all those years ago, it was truly a disruptor. It never really offered a true insider’s perspective in those days… but its ability to access all the insider’s toys to then be analyzed by fans with an outsider’s movie-loving perspective, was powerful and unexpected. Hollywood didn’t see the internet coming. But as time passed, Team AICN, probably without ever thinking it in so many words, but undeniably, was sucked into the system. It remained, for quite a while, the seemingly pure, movie-loving outlet (however flawed) that was out to set the record straight. But being invited into the inside was better than trying to smash the windows from outside. And so, the leadership went inside and got comfy.

Of course, AICN still pushed back sometimes. And at the heart, it is still all about movie love. The site effectively serves a niche. Relationships are strong. Geeks still identify with it, even if they are attacking the site at times. But it is, mostly, toothless.

Nikki Finke is similarly toothless after trading in her real, usually misguided, personal outrage for the pleasure of being told that she mattered. And the disconnect from truth is even worse than the New York Times or Los Angeles Times or even the trades, getting in so close with the objects of its reportage that it can tell you what they ate for dinner last night from the smell of their skin. Because the others are not so strident in the pretense of objective distance. Nikki Finke proclaims on her new websi… uh, URL, that she wants to tell the truth about Hollywood. But sadly for her, she has no idea what the truth is anymore. It is such a melange of her ego and her handlers and her rage and her desire to keep the image that the media created for her (just the good stuff, thanks), she clearly has no idea who she is and what she is meant to be doing.

Nikki Finke is now a certain kind of has-been. She never even got to be Hedda Hopper (who named names) or Louella Parsons (who lived 20 years after she the lost relevance that was created by her own billionaire). When Finke sold out to Penske, she was already about as high on the hill as she would ever get. Most of the attention she’s gotten since has been for hiring people who do the work that fills the Deadline blog or for how much she was paid by her billionaire in an era of media constriction. It’s been more than 5 years since the WGA strike and almost 5 years since Ben Silverman left NBC. Has she been associated with any landmark event since then? She’s become a bagman for the boys downtown.

So what, you may wonder, is the difference between Nikki and her former employee, Michael Fleming. Well… what Fleming does is pure, old school trade reporting. It is different than reporting on wars or politics. I have long expressed a certain contempt for what the trades do versus what I see as capital-J Journalism. But I also acknowledge that it is a lot of work and a very valuable skill set… not just for Mike, but for all trade reporters, even those who work for editors who are absolute fools. Mike was, for film, the top dog in this arena a decade ago, five years ago, and really, today.

There are people who question the way in which Fleming conducts his work. But for me, it’s a hard-work gig, including the work of getting as many people to get you the information FIRST! as possible. Will the threats that became a trademark of so many interactions between Nikki and sources be a Fleming tactic? I don’t see it ever being close to the same degree, as Fleming wasn’t that way before Finke. Will he make the case for publishing with him/Deadline first, ahead of others? Yes. Will he threaten to destroy people and leak truly sensitive information with little actual news value? Don’t see that happening.

But the New Deadline has an old problem, which we saw with the efforts to replace Siskel & Ebert. The magic is gone. In the case of Nikki, it was a black and often false magic. But she was the stir that stirred the drink. And Deadline, which has become more mainstream trade and less a must read over a couple of years already, is now looking to be a pure trade. All The News That’s Fit To Publish to An Audience of About 60,000 people, max.

And for Nikki, there is no way to recapture the thrill of the first time she wrote that some top executive was an asshole. She is the Sarah Palin of entertainment journalism. She will have a constituency of people who LOVE her and believe everything she types is truthful and edgy and important. But for people who think, the gag has played out. The more Nikki tries to regain relevance, the more pathetic she will seem. No doubt, she will get some exclusives. She will make some executive testicles shrink when they read that she called them a “doody head” or some such infantile name, as any criticism can crush the fragile ego of the most successful undeserving. But will the post-WGA mentions of Deadline Hollywood and/or Nikki Finke on network shows continue? No. The best she can really hope to do is to get a big number—inflated by Sharon Waxman—for her memoirs as The Queen of Hollywood before getting sued for the advance money when she can’t finish it for a decade or so.

And just wait for the fun when a flailing NikkiFinke.com causes Nikki to turn on her latest set of backers… surely some multimillionaire, a step below her once delightful billionaire.

So if Nikki is a blip occasionally screeching for attention and Deadline is a little bland, in terms of The Conversation, what happens to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter?

Again… I don’t think that much has changed. Really, Finke has given Penske a little more room to work, really.

Last March I wrote, “Truly, there seems little that THR can actually do in response to Penske’s two outlets. THR is not in the same game. And if it focuses on countering Variety and Deadline, they will self-screw.”

I still think that’s true. All The Hollywood Reporter can do is to try to maximize what they do… which is less and less about being a trade and more and more about being a glossy with a heavy Hollywood focus.

The real question is Variety and Deadline… and there really is only one answer to the question. And in spite of strong suggestions by those surviving Deadline, the answer is mathematical above all else. Can Deadline and Variety generate as much profit individually as a Mike & Nellie muscled up Variety alone can? Moreover, can moving Mike & Nellie over to Variety actually allow Variety to eliminate some more staff or not need to hire more staff?

The other piece of math is Penske’s percentage of Variety revenues. In other words, is 100% of Deadline able to produce significantly more revenue for him than, what?, 255 of Variety?

And when I write “significantly,” what I mean is, how much pleasure would it give Jay Penske to shutter the Deadline brand altogether… like a monster movie where evil is finally buried, seemingly unable to escape. (The monster often escapes… but only for more money… and that doesn’t seem a likely scenario here.)

With Nikki out of the Deadline/Variety picture, the quality of journalism, however still trade-y, can only improve. Finke’s constant push to lower the standards of fact finding in favor of expediency and Toldjas, empowered by the idea that she was the brightest star so she had to be followed, is over. If Mike Fleming is the new north star, we will all be seeing a step back to some of the classic traditions. The next step will be to be to get both trades writing more stories with actual information and not just regurgitations as link bait. When they start actually spiking stories that don’t real add to the conversation, things will truly be looking up.

In 2013/14, there really is no need for even two trades, much less three or four or five. Most of the content, however hard fought for, is info that someone wants out. If you don’t want me to call it all “press release journalism,” I will restrain myself out of respect. But we’re not uncovering the Pentagon Papers here, kids. (And for the record, the media outlets just edited and printed them after Dan Ellsberg decided to disseminate them.)

Best case scenario, “news” in entertainment news is redefined again, more carefully this time… one trade of record or two.

It’s a lot like the moment after Dorothy melted The Wicked Witch. Which way would the Flying Monkeys go? In my experience, Flying Monkeys are people too.

And so it goes…

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Weekend Estimates by 1 New Wide Release Klady

(Apologies for the numbers mix-up… out at an early shoot)
Weekend Estimates 2013-11-10 at 9.22.30 AM

$86.2 million Thor sounds good… the best November opening since… last November 9. But still, an improvement on the first Thor release and if estimates are accurate, a nice Friday-to-Saturday bump suggesting that the film was not completely front-loaded. The weekday numbers will reveal more and next Friday-Saturday will tell the domestic tale. The real story is international, where Thor 2 is nearing the first film’s total international gross after just two weekends.

Everyone else with a wide release stayed away from the weekend, although 12 Years A Slave continued its expansion and scored an estimated $6.6 million with the second best per-screen in the Top Ten. Also scoring was a smaller expansion for Dallas Buyers Club, per-screening $17,720 on 35.

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch