MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

This is the Way the Year Ends

Not With a Whimper, But a Pop!

It was still all Fock and all action as Meet the Fockers continued to hold sway in theaters with an estimated $43.2 million during the New Year’s holiday period. The close out of 2004 saw a modest improvement from the prior year to bring the annual domestic tally through December 30 to approximately $9.33 billion. With the addition of Friday’s box office, 2004 will see a slim improvement of 1.7% while admissions are off by 6% from 2003.

There were no last minute national debuts but a handful of last minute qualifiers displayed heft, especially In Good Company with a $50,000 plus screen average.

Meet the Fockers continued to dominate holiday movie going with its closest rival trailing by nearly $30 million. It had close to a carbon copy gross from Christmas and has a cume of $163.6 million in 12 days of release.

Most films in the marketplace experienced at least modest box office improvement from Christmas with some of the higher profile award contenders reaping the biggest rewards including Sideways, Finding Neverland and Ray. There was also an unexpected rally for National Treasure and a more predictable boost for several family films.

Overall business should ring in with close to $155 million for a 12% increase from last weekend and a much appreciated 8% spike from the close of 2003.

The Aviator ranked third overall with a weekend just shy of $12 million and a cume of $32.1 million since its Christmas day debut. The chronicle of Howard Hughes early exploits maintained a good but not dynamic $6,600 theater average. A similar scenario could also be applied to The Phantom of the Opera with a $7,700 average in 65% fewer locations.

The most significant expansion during New Year’s was the Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea that expanded from 9 to 383 locations and grossed about $1.3 million. It’s $3,300 average will make further expansions more problematic.

As noted the light comic look at contemporary corporate culture In Good Company was buoyed by strong reviews, grossing better than $150,000 from three venues. Other limited bows included The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino as Shylock with its pound of flesh translating to $71,300 from four stalls; A five-screen break of The Assassination of Richard Nixon generating $28,400 and a not terribly lilting $24,200 from seven blue bayous for A Love Song for Bobby Long.

Million Dollar Baby and Hotel Rwanda both received solid upturns in limited exposure as they maintained strategic award campaigns. Both movies will up the ante to 100 theaters next weekend.

The close out of the year tightened a few positions in the market share race though the running order remained intact. Fox is the only studio that could ascend a notch among those not employing a calendar year cut off. Regardless, the top three will be Sony, Warner Bros. and Buena Vista. Final figures and statistics will be available Tuesday.

– by Leonard Klady

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


Quote Unquotesee all »

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