MCN Originals Archive for March, 2015

The Gronvall Report: Simon Curtis On WOMAN IN GOLD

When he segued into film after notable work for the stage and in television, director Simon Curtis may not have set out to revive that staple of the Golden Age of movies, the “woman’s picture,” but so far he’s two for two.

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The Weekend Report

Estimates for DreamWorks Animation’s Home make it the best opening for the studio since moving to Fox for distribution, topping even last summer’s Oscar-winning Dragon sequel. Get Hard is the #3 opening of Will Ferrell’s live-action career, very similar to Blades of Glory. Radius/Weinstein throws It Follows into theatrical release without the threat of immediate VOD and it will become their #1 theatrical grosser ever, in just a few more days.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Home lands in the top third of DreamWorks Animation openings, right in the range of last summer’s How To Train Your Dragon 2, prompting a much-needed sigh of relief for DWA and Fox marketing. Get Hard opens to a number remarkably close to another Will Ferrell late-March opening, Blades of Fire, which also happens to be one of his Top Five career openers as a lead. And, finally, some life on the arthouse scene, as Radius’ decision to withdraw It Follows from the day-n-date VOD market will pay off with a $4m+ weekend that would not have happened with day-n-date. And Noah Baumbach’s While We Are Young is looking at a $40K+ per-screen on four.

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The DVD Wrapup: Into the Woods, Unbroken, Errol Morris, Michael Almereyda, Mr. Bean and More

It’s no secret that the Disney empire owes a great debt of gratitude—if not any licensing fees or screen credits–to the Brothers Grimm, whose many wonderful stories the company has cherry-picked for movies, television shows, Broadway, amusement parks, plush toys and costumes. If proceeds from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs allowed Uncle Walt to create Disney Studios in Burbank, the success of Cinderella, 13 years later, probably saved it from financial ruin.

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48 Weeks To Oscar: Academy In Crisis(?)

The grass always seems greener on the other side. But it is not always the case. In the case of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, it is a sad story of insecurity, fear, oversized yet easily bruised ego, and a lack of perspective on itself.

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The Weekend Report

Insurgent, the second chapter in the YA series, led weekend viewing with an estimated $53.2 million. The potent bow left little more than scraps for the counter-programmers that debuted nationally. The muscle-flexing The Gunman flabbed with a $5 million launch while the faith-based Do You Believe? had a skeptical $3.8 million box office. Exclusive debuts ranged from an excellent $74,200 bow for Danny Collins for neophyte distrib Bleecker Street to a dismal $4,600 for Accidental Love, the remnant of David O. Russell’s 2008 production formally titled Nailed and now credited to the Smithee-esque Stephen Greene.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Insurgent brings us the second weekend in a row with a $20 million Friday. It’s not quite Cinderella but then, who is? Speaking of Cindy, she takes a reasonable hit, but nothing else in the Top 10 manages to gross even $2 million on Friday, including the opening day of The Gunman. At the arthouse, only Al Pacino as Danny Collins manages over $3k per screen on opening day.

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The DVD Wrapup: Top Five, Soft Skin, Disorder, Mondovino, Troop Beverly Hills and more

If Chris Rock’s film career isn’t nearly as celebrated as those of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy–standup giants before turning to feature films–it isn’t because the movies he’s in don’t make money. Most of them, especially the animated features to which he adds his distinctive voice, do well enough at the box-office to think that they probably did even better on DVD. It’s likely that Rock was responsible for selling as many tickets as Adam Sandler to the critically reviled, yet financially successful Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.

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Wilmington on Movies: The Salvation

The movie Western is a durable genre that has sometimes fallen on hard times. But that genre gets a powerful reworking from a couple of knowledgeable foreigners—not-so-gloomy Danes Kristian Levring (director-writer) and co-screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen—in the Go-Eastwood-Young-Man revenge shocker The Salvation.

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Wilmington on Movies: Run All Night

Why doesn’t Liam Neeson make movies today like Schindler’s List or Michael Collins?

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Leonard Klady Remembers Albert Maysles

On another occasion I called him and was told he was off with David shooting Grand Funk. The two were nuts about trains and I jumped to the wrong conclusion that they’d finally got a bead on how to do a document on the subject. When we talked the following Monday he just shrugged and mumbled something about endless requests to shoot rock groups post-Gimme Shelter and, in this case, Grand Funk Railway of We’re an American Band reknown. But his final film, the forthcoming In Transit, may finally have fulfilled that dream project.

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The Weekend Report

Cinderella broke through the glass (slipper) ceiling to command weekend viewing with an estimated $69.1 million. The venerable partygoer put a damper on the session’s only other wide newcomer, brooding thriller Run All Night, that came to ground with $11 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Cinderella slips into a comfortable $22.3 million, while a gloomy Liam Neeson only threatens $2.8 million with Run All Night.

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The DVD Wrapup: Liberator, Watchers of the Sky, R100, Code Black, Red Road, Red Tent and more

Because American students have never been required to be proficient in the history of the Americas south of the Alamo, the vast region continues to be something of a mystery to us. After learning how the conquistadors demolished and/or converted the indigenous population and sent their treasures back to Spain to fill the depleted coffers of the monarchy, we were left only with misconceptions. It took the martyrdom of Che Guevara, fear of communism and outrages of fascism to rekindle our interest in the affairs of South and Central America. The scourge of cocaine, black-tar heroin and illegal immigrants added a sense of urgency heretofore unwarranted. Affordable airfares and improved tourist accommodations have done more to educate Americans about the new realities of life in the western hemisphere than all of the textbooks that ignored imperialism and CIA meddling in national politics.

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Divining Cannes 2015

In less than two months, festival circuiteers return to the sunny Festival de Cannes, an event with serious heavy-hitters returning to the Croisette. That’s what the Palme d’Or Competition will likely be programmed primarily with this year: alumni.

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Sundance Seen Part 2: The Cooled Take

Sundance 2015, I told myself, would be a festival of no quick takes, some tweets, lots of movies, interviews, conversations, unforeseen run-ins and path-crossings, hundreds of photographs, and a few more movies. A noble experiment. Time to consider, reflect. Of course, afterwards, I was quickly reminded that there’s good reason for buckling down in the midst of all the sensory input of a film festival and churning copy and burning digital files. What happens once you’re back on the ground? Sure, plant your ass in the chair and type-type-type until all is tidy and done. But not so fast.

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The Weekend Report

Not exactly a happy Chappie but nonetheless the debut yarn of a “human” robot led session viewing with an estimated $13.1 million in an inclement frame. Two other new national releases bowed with Vince Vaughn vehile Unfinished Business posting dire results of $4.7 million, while The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel provided a ray of sunshine with $8.4 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Chappie leads crappy. But this will all change again next weekend as the fairy godmother sprinkles box office fairy dust around. Focus drops 55% vs last Friday, despite its fairly soft opening.

The hero of the weekend is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which opened wide and will eclipse the best-ever weekend for the the original ($6.4 million) as a result.

Unfinished Business charts a big dip in the Vince Vaughn franchise. This will be his worst wide opening ever, which follows directly on the heels of the previous owner of that inauspicious honor, Delivery Man. Time to go rebuild in supporting roles, as he did with Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

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The DVD Wrapup: Better Angels, Humbling, Tinker Bell, Blacula, Outlander and more

It’s difficult to imagination that any film starring Al Pacino, directed by Barry Levinson and adapted by Buck Henry, from a novel by Philip Roth, couldn’t find distribution outside the festival circuit and a couple of big-city art houses. Thirty years ago, such a thing would be unthinkable.

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DVD Geek: Batman – The Complete Series

Under the mistaken assumption that it would teach me fiscal prudence, my parents limited my comic book purchases as a child to two magazines a month.  This was a wrenching dictum, because there were four or five that I enjoyed very much, and all of them came out monthly, but while I may have varied…

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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