MCN Originals

Smashing Wide-Release Theatrical Windows: Murder or Suicide?

The theatrical business is not dying. There are no actual stats that suggest it is.

Perhaps distributors are not foolishly chasing new revenue, but are consciously aware that sipping the Kool-Aid may lead to the death of a significant portion of this industry. Maybe they just want to be in a different business.

Read the full article » 4 Comments »

The Weekend Report

Beauty and the Beast diminished by half but nonetheless towered over the competition with an estimated $89 million weekend. That left the incoming Power Rangers securely in second spot with a $40.1 million debut. The session’s two other newcomers had meh results with the Alieneque sci-fier Life opening to $12.4 million and the TV staple CHIPS puttering on the big screen to $7.5 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

The second weekend of a tale as old as time not only beating out two space-y films, but beating the two combined. The Beauty is looking at the #4 all-time slot for best second weekend to boot. Power Rangers, which spent a ton on advertising, is not a bust. But box office prognosticators are flying blind on where this one is going. Will it play on Saturday and across the globe? Life is a brutal opening, given its ambition. And CHiPs is another waste of Dax Shepard and Michael Pena and of WB’s time.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Julieta, Sing, Kind of Murder, Nightless City, Multiple Maniacs, Cinema Paradiso, 45RPM, Ali & Nino, American Princesses, Split and more

While any new movie by Pedro Almodóvar is cause for celebration, Julieta stands out for several reasons. Upon its screening at Cannes, critics were quick to point out that it not only marked a return to the women-centric dramas for which he’s been associated for the entirety of his 40-year, 20-feature career. It’s also one of only a very few titles that he’s adapted from a literary source or shared a writing credit. Based on three stories by Canadian writer Alice Munro — “Chance,” “Soon” and “Silence,” from her 2004 collection “Runaway” – Almodóvar originally planned to adapt them as his first English-language screenplay, possibly starring Meryl Streep. He didn’t feel comfortable pursuing that,  and re-set the film for locations in Spain. If reviewers missed the director’s outrageous comedy and other trademark touches, loyalists savored his insider riffs on Spanish telenovelas, Hitchcockian tropes and film noir, as well as Julieta’s distinct visual style and complementary color palette.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Twas Beauty killed the Beast to an estimated record-breaking debut of $171.7 million. The frame’s other new wide release, the James Gunn-penned eerie thriller The Belko Experiment was a slim counterprogrammer with a $4 million launch.

Exclusive newcomers included Terrence Malick’s allegorical musical romantic triangle Song to Song with $51,700 from four bookings and the long-gestating sequel T2: Trainspotting that bowed domestically on five screens to $177,000 following two months of overseas exposure that’s injected $34 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Tale as old as 1991… loved to say the least… throngs come out for Belle, critics ring death knell, Beauty and the Beast

It’s the fourth biggest opening day outside of the summer/holiday windows. $155 million seems like the floor for the weekend. This kind of huge success seemed inevitable when incisive critics started reviewing Disney’s business model instead of the movie. Canaries in the coal mine.

In exclusives, Boyle & Malick will each go over $10k per screen in throwaway releases.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Fences, Elle, Passengers, Solace, Film/Not Film, Robert Flaherty, Drunk History and more

A few eyebrows were raised when playwright-screenwriter Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) was hired to build on a draft written by Wilson before his death in 2005. Finally, though, Wilson was given sole authorship of the adapted screenplay, as well as an Academy Award nomination, while Kushner is credited as co-producer. It explains why Fences sometimes feels as if it were transplanted directly from the stage and the establishing exteriors are limited to a few shots of Troy and Bono working in the streets of Pittsburgh, his visit to downtown headquarters to be promoted to driver and a shot of kids playing stickball. The movie never feels stagebound or contrived, however. Wilson’s genius for turning conversations into poetry is as evident as ever.

Read the full article » No Comments »

DVD Geek: ARRIVAL, 100 RIFLES, HACKSAW RIDGE, FLASH S2

Arrival never waits for the viewer to catch up, even as it cleverly and even stupefyingly shifts from language to emotion, to remind the viewer that regardless of our destiny in the stars, the very core of our reason for existence is family.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Kong: Skull Island, the only nationwide opener, sounded the right chord with an estimated $61.1 million debut.

Exclusive newcomers were led by Cannes’ Personal Shopper with a $80,700 credit line at four boutiques, and Brit import The Sense of an Ending, which grossed $42,400 from four sites.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Godzilla opening day 2014: $38m. Kong: Skull Island… a little better than half of that. If the opening trajectory holds, Kongwill open to almost $50 million and will fight to get to $100m domestic. The question is, will the rest of the world bail out this turkey… uh, monkey? And a nice rebound weekend for exclusives: three films will do over $10,000 per-screen, led by Personal Shopper.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Moana, Brand New Testament, Weissensee Saga, 100 Streets, and more

Disney recruited a variety of experts on Polynesian history and culture to ensure authenticity and pre-empt what had become almost pro-forma accusations of cultural insensitivity in earlier features. Throughout the production process, revisions to everything from language and characterizations, to hair styles,, tattoos and ancillary products, were suggested and made. The result is a wonderfully entertaining family movie whose Oceania influences are reflected in the color palate, music, dance, dress, physical backdrops and customs.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Wilmington On Movies: Table 19

Table 19 may be too good-humored and civilized. Movie comedy works better when we sense it’s capable of a bit more savagery and bile, or at least more comic realism. But even when Table 19 turns a little mean, it never strikes us really as getting out of hand.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

The debut of Logan cut a mean figure estimated at $85.5 million to easily lead weekend movie going. Other national releases saw good returns of $16.2 million for the faith-based The Shack and a crash landing of $4.7 million for the brooding drama Before I Fall.

Also disappointing in limited wide release was the relationship comedy Table 19 with $1.6 million. New imports from India all flat lined and the best of the myriad exclusive freshmen was the dramady The Last Word with a $33,900 tally from four screens. In Canada the animated Ballerina expanded into English-language venues to solid returns of $718,000.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Fox had its second very successful hard-R Marvel opening in 13 months, defining a unique place for itself in the Marvel eco-system unlikely to be explored by Disney. Logan opened to X-Men: Days of Future Past numbers, which did $90m for the opening weekend, $234 domestic and $748m worldwide. So, well behind Deadpool domestically, but catching up in international.

Also opening to modest but not-too-exciting numbers, Sony’s The Shack and Open Road’s Before I Fall.

And Moonlight gets an Oscar bump that should amount to a couple million this weekend, while Hidden Figures and La La Land continue normal drops, still topping the Best Picture winner.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Moonlight, Doctor Strange, Arrival, Before Trilogy, Chronic and more

Moonlight is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical text, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” written in 2003 to cope with his own mother’s death from AIDS. Never produced, it was ten years before Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) – who grew up only a few blocks from McCraney, in Miami’s poverty- and crime-wracked Liberty City projects – was pushed to begin work on a second film. The characters are informed by people who influenced both men at various times in their lives. If Moonlight feels hyperreal, it’s because McCraney and Jenkins endured many of the same powerful forces as Chiron and Kevin.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Get Out got in with an estimated $30.5 million debut. The session’s other two national openers had less fortuitous results. Animated Rock Dogs charted 11th with $3.6 million. Collide bumped into $1.5 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Remembering Bill Paxton

The phone rang.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Get Out is an ironic hit on #OscarWeekendSoRacial. Will the trajectory of the film across the weekend be horror movie or comedy date film? Fifty Shades Darker continues to drop like a lead balloon, but will pass $100m domestic and $300m worldwide today as its producer prepares to present the Oscar telecast. Lion continues to expand, and Hidden Figures stays slightly ahead of La La Land at the domestic box office (but way behind internationally). Animated Feature nominee My Life As A Zucchini opens as the only $10k+ limited/exclusive.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Our Final Votes

In this final look at the field before Oscar Sunday, The Gurus bet heavy on La La Land. Also, a long list of categories where The Gurus think upsets are still possible, though the only La La upset with any traction is Huppert over Stone (and still, all voting Gurus went Stone and only 5 consider the upset possible). Plus, the Gurus are still fuzzy on the shorts.

Thanks for joining us for another season. We predict we will see you again in August.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

20 Weeks To Oscar: 4 Days Away…

It wasn’t complex. It wasn’t full of surprises. And nothing in its nature has suggested any real change at The Academy or inside The Industry.

The Academy is still old and white. Young people still tend to spark what is new about the industry. But the process of “becoming” for non-actors tends not to be an overnight event.

Read the full article » 8 Comments »

MCN Originals

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