MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Bill Chill: Snowdance Hits Theaters

You can’t fool with Mother Nature and she came down with a fury in the Northeast and Midwest, shivering movie going to the bone. The cinematic force majeur was likely to wither admissions by 20% to 25% of unrecoverable income with exhibition and distribution sources trying to emulate Happy rather than Grouchy and Sneezy.

The frame was nonetheless led by an upbeat debut for Are We There Yet? estimated at $18.8 million and a passable result of $6.8 million for Assault on Precinct 13 that ranked the thriller sixth in the weekend lineup. However, millions were left in the snowdrift as storms battered the East Coast and beyond and a healthy chunk of the nation decided to take a Snow Day.

Business for the frame should just creep past $100 million to keep it even with the 3-day portion of last weekend’s Martin Luther King holiday. It was nonetheless a significant 29% decline for the same period of 2004.

The hijinx of the Ice Cube comedy vehicle Are We There Yet? led the session as expected but with a muted potency that predicted a debut in the area of $25 million. It should still provide a nice profit … just not quite as large as it might have been in the absence of inclement weather.

More nettlesome is the fate of the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 from 1976 centering on the siege of a police station. It was effectively ramped up on the production side and its Wednesday and Thursday box office generated a $1.5 million box office that suggested weekend results in the low teens. Instead it crawled to $6.8 million and will need strong international and ancillary response to meet its nut.

Holdover titles were rocked by declines that generally cut business by half with no respite from areas unaffected by the white menace. In a business where momentum is vital, it repped a crushing blow for the New Year. Only the addition of new theaters soften the blow for expansions of award contenders including Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Hotel Rwanda and The Phantom of the Opera that await final word from the Academy Tuesday morning.

Fortunately, the weekend was only lightly sprinkled with new titles in regional, specialized or exclusive engagements. Bollywood’s Kisna bowed on 82 screens to a disappointing $130,000 weekend while there wasn’t much interest in the adaptation of kid lit favorite When Zachary Beaver Came to Town in 23 playdates in Texas, Utah and Kansas. It barely generated $10,000 from areas untouched by bad weather, so the commercial body blow was doubly severe.

Best of the exclusives was European Film Award winner Head On from Germany. The sprightly drama grossed roughly $11,000 from a single Manhattan site.

– by Leonard Klady

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon