MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady


Sin City came out with both barrels blazing and led weekend movie going with an estimated $27.9 million. However, it wasn’t quite enough to reverse the recent downturn in domestic film attendance. The frame also recorded good results for the debut of Beauty Shop and excellent initial biz for the French import Look at Me in exclusive play.

The ultra violent and stylistically flashy Sin City got off to a fast start with opening day figures of about $11.5 million. Drawing largely on an avid young male crowd, it appeared to have a clear shot at a $30 million weekend. But Saturday business fell 12% and word-of-mouth outside its core audience was tepid which likely means next weekend will experience a 50% plus box office tumble.

Second spot was secured by Beauty Shop with a weekend of about $13.3 million. The distaff barbershop bowed Wednesday and swept up $3.8 million in its first two days. At one point it appeared to be the final MGM release prior to the company’s transition to Sony but that’s not expected to occur now until the summer and the once glorious leonine studio has The Amityville Horror in the wings.

Sneaks on Friday and Saturday of the Drew Barrymore-Jimmy Fallon comedy Fever Pitch bolstered Robots‘ box office that finished the span with a $104.7 million cume. Exit polling indicated Pitch was attracting a 25 and older audience, though that the younger demo experienced a noticeable boost for the second preview.

Overall business should tally to around $106 million for the frame and once again that pegs it at a double-digit drop of 16% from 2004. Exhibition sources expect that trend to continue for at least several weeks. However, there’s high expectation for the Nicole Kidman-Sean Penn pairing in The Interpreter that opens April 21.

On the holdover front, The Pacifier inched closer to a $100 million box office as did Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby. Expect the first picture to hit that mark next weekend but Baby may have to wait until its discount run to achieve those bragging rights.

The national expansion of The Upside of Anger netted roughly $4 million, and the critically embraced human comedy will need a strong hold next weekend to survive the rigors of the highly competitive marketplace. On a scaled down basis, Woody Allen‘s Melinda and Melinda – another critic’s darling – doubled its exposure to 195 screens and registered a wan $2,700 theater average that dashes hopes for a commercial comeback for the vet filmmaker.

Specialized debuts were on the ebb but the Cannes favorite Look at Me from France was off to a heady start propelled by nearly unanimous rave reviews. It generated a $12,000 plus average from six exposures. Other notable limited bows included the sports doc Dust to Glory with a $16,400 gross on two and the Hungarian Oscar submission Kontroll with $9,900 from a different pair of venues.

Continuing titles maintaining slow but sturdy expansions included Millions, Germany’s Downfall and the American indie The Ballad of Jack and Rose.

– 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