MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Scare Tactics

Do I hear a franchise?

Boogeyman provided the shock and awe in movie theaters this past weekend as it debuted to an estimated $20.2 million. While exhibitors and distributors were girding for the annual hard hit of Super Bowl Sunday, business was better than expected overall and also featured a very good bow for The Wedding Date that ranked third with $11.1 million and continuing strength for Oscar contenders.

Listing toward the spooky rather than the graphic, Boogeyman carved out a sizeable niche of the youth audience in its opening frame. While its business will likely be sliced in half next weekend, the modestly produced chiller definitely got off to a fast start that bodes well for overseas prospects and hair raising response when it hits the DVD racks. And if there was any doubt about moving ahead on a follow up, those fears can be put aside.

The span’s other national debut was the high concept comedy The Wedding Date, with a nicely appointed $6,600 theater average. Developed by the same folk that bankrolled My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the film should attain the sort of mid-range box office that generates very good but not quite spectacular profits.

The Ice Cube family comedy Are We There Yet? continued to stand up to the competition as its cume rose to $52 million while Hide and Seek took a sharp 60% drop following its potent opening.

Overall business should ring in with roughly $107 million in sales to slip about 16% from the immediate prior weekend. It was also 6% off last year’s pace when the bows of Barbershop 2 and Miracle were the top performers. However, movie going was projected to be up 9% from Super Bowl weekend 2004.

Oscar continues to be a significant factor in the marketplace with Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator and Sideways among the hottest ticket sellers in multiplexes. Sideways became Fox Searchlight’s biggest grosser over the weekend, usurping The Full Monty from 1997. Hotel Rwanda again added theaters to its run to excellent results and its current $11.5 million total has easily shattered early expectations.

In regional and limited play, the weekend saw two Bollywood pictures going head to head and while both Black and Shabd had respectable bows, there’s no denying that neither reached its full potential. Among a clutch of exclusive premieres only the award winning Japanese drama Nobody Knows displayed any real signs of niche box office potency. The saga of abandoned children was eyeing roughly $31,000 from two Manhattan screens.

The rest of the limited newcomers generated tepid to poor results. The Australian true life period drama Swimming Upstream grossed about $24,000 from 17 engagements while the documentary The Nomi Song was headed toward $7,000 from two screens and the critically acclaimed Irish social drama about the disabled, Rory O’Shea was Here limped to $6,700 from three venues.

– 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