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David Poland

By David Poland

Summer Guessin'…

20 Weeks Of Summer starts next week on MCN and I will save my obnoxious predictions until then. But what kind of money do you see flying around in the first six weeks of summer?
1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2. XXX: State of the Union
3. Kingdom of Heaven
4. House of Wax
5. Kicking & Screaming
6. Star Wars III
7. Madagascar
8. The Longest Yard
9. Cinderella Man
10. Lords of Dogtown
11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants
Opening numbers? Domestic totals?

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27 Responses to “Summer Guessin'…”

  1. Mark says:

    Hitchhiker will make 85 million.
    Star Wars will make 350.
    XXX will make 90.
    Longest Yard will make 120.
    Dogtown will be the biggest bomb. Barely make 30.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I know Dave doesn’t agree with me on this, but I think that, even after that controversial NYT piece of a few months ago, most people have no idea just how big a stink “Kingdom of God” is going to cause in some circles. It won’t matter how fair or balanced the movie is. In fact, it won’t really matter how GOOD it is. Word will get out that Hollywood has made a movie about the Crusades — about Christians form the West coming in to bitch slap Muslims in the East — and that will be enough to piss off certain people. (Never mind if the movie actually is about more than that — that’s how the rumor mills and hate mongers will spin it.) Specifically, certain people who have access to bullets and explosives. Even after two Gulf Wars, I don’t think most people in this country appreciate the level of hate many folks in the Middle East have for the West in general and the US particular. And a movie like this will only fuel that hatred (or, worse, be used by our enemies to fuel that hatred). I hope I’m wrong — I literally pray I’m wrong — but blood is going to get spilled after this movie is released. Maybe not in the US, but certainly elsewhere. And before you respond with some wiseacre remark, Dave, let me say: If I’m wrong, I know I’ll look like a jackass. And you know what? I can live with looking like a jackass. But if you’re wrong, people get killed.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Ooops! Yeah, yeah, I know — It’s “Kingdom of Heaven.”

  4. JKP says:

    1. Hitchhikers Guide- 85, with a 20-25 opening if its great it could be a sleeper that slips past 130
    2. XXX2- 90, with a 30 opening, If people really think he is a movie star and not an ex-rapper, it could be the 1st 100 movie of the summer.
    3. Kingdom of Heaven- 80, opening w/20. Will continue the downward trend of period War/Swords and Sandals pic.s
    4. House of Wax- 60 tops, or it could make a WRONG TURN
    5. Kicking and Screaming- will Bad News Bears to the punch with 90, 30 opening
    6. SW III- over 350, and 85 opening as usual
    7. Madagascar over 100, but another tepid computer animated pic, like Robots
    8. The Longest Yard, 150, with a 50ish opening
    9. Cinderella Man, 120, a 20 opening. Seabiscuit 2 with a real star in the lead, so it wont take a whole year to makes its domestic
    10. Lords of Dogtown 40, 13 opening. I wouldn’t even consider it a bomb, with such low expectations.
    11. Traveling Pants, 50, 12 Yawn.

  5. jesse says:

    Rounded guesses:
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: $22 million opening, $71 million final
    2. XXX: State of the Union: $41 million opening, $125 million final
    3. Kingdom of Heaven: $30 million opening, $130 million final
    4. House of Wax: $15 million opening, $44 million final
    5. Kicking & Screaming: $20 million opening, $65 million final
    6. Star Wars III: $125 million (4-day) opening (90 million 3-day), $330 million final
    7. Madagascar: $48 million (4-day) opening, $155 million final
    8. The Longest Yard: $65 million (4-day) opening, $170 million final
    9. Cinderella Man: $22 million opening, $110 million final
    10. Lords of Dogtown, $8 million opening, $40 million final
    11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants: $14 million opening, $63 million final
    I think Unleashed will be a semi-surprise semi-hit, and do at least $50 million (it’s opening that 5/13 weekend, isn’t it?? We’ve waited long enough!) …
    Looking over my guesses, they seem kinda wishy-washy, with most movies getting in there between 60 and 150. Oh well. Kingdom of Heaven is my biggest question mark. It feels like one epic too many, yes, but then again it has more of a potential 35+ audience than anything till Cinderella Man.
    According to Box Office Mojo, Pink Panther slinked back into the summer schedule for 8/5, Red Eye is moving to the 8/19 dead zone, and Into the Blue is now into the fall. I know there’s a big release-date shuffle every year, but it seems a lot more pronounced for this summer’s dates.

  6. Geoff says:

    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Like I said earlier, the most optimistic prediction would be a $15 million opening and a $60 million total gross, though reaching the heights of Galaxy Quest, which was in the ’70’s, is not out of the realm of possibility.
    2. XXX: State of the Union
    It won’t open as large as the first one, but no one really expected that, did they? The first one had a lot more hype and advertising dollars behind it. I think Cube could deliver an opening in the high ’20’s and probably a final gross in the neighborhood of $70 or $80 million. I know it’s a sequel, but I just see word of mouth possibly being good on this one, not sure why.
    3. Kingdom of Heaven
    This is a real wild card. I was thinking it would have a middling opening, but considering that Monster-In-Law, XXX, and Hitchhiker were all moved off of this date, I am thinking there could be big potential. Maybe around $40 million opening and I am thinking pretty good world of mouth, just taking it over $100 mill. Really depends on how big XXX is and if the word of mouth is good on that one.
    4. House of Wax
    Will probably do Boogieman or White Noise business with a $20 mill opening leading to barely $50 mill.
    5. Kicking & Screaming
    If Monster-In-Law is really off its opening date, now, I could see close to $30 mill, with pretty good word of mouth, leading to over $100 mill. I think Anchorman slightly underperformed, because it wasn’t family friendly enough, but that should not be a problem with this one.
    6. Star Wars III
    Tough to predict, since when you think about it, both previous prequels actually had somewhat disappointing openings, based on pre-release expectations. But they both held pretty well, too. I think it will probably top $90 mill, opening weekend, and end up around $350 mill, right between the previous two. But if it is actually good, then look out. Of course, I would have thought about Spiderman 2, but for some reason it stalled a little below its predecessor.
    7. Madagascar
    DreamWorks has to be watching the grosses of Robots and is pretty nervous about this. This weekend is just too crowded, with another big comedy and Star Wars. They should really swallow their pride and just move it one week back to June 3, where the only competition is Cinderella Man. Weekend after Memorial Day worked out ok for Finding Nemo, didn’t it? I can see about a $50 mill opening over 4 days, leading to just around $150 total. If they take my advice, though, it could be a $200 million movie.
    8. The Longest Yard
    I actually don’t think there is a highly promoted a film, this summer, as this one. Paramount is pulling out all the stops. They know this is their first real shot at an all-out blockbuster in years and are not taking any chances. Using Burt Reynolds, Sandler, Rock, AND Nelly is a good broad-based marking ploy, which will pay off. Should easily be Sandler’s biggest opening, every, with around $55 to $60 mil four day opening weekend. Probably is pretty terrible, and will fall fast (remember, even Bruce Almighty fell pretty fast) and will end up around $150 to $160 mill. But certainly a success.
    9. Cinderella Man
    Tough to call, but the obvious model is Seabiscuit. Strangely, it has that first weekend of June all to itself, pretty much. I can see high ’20’s opening, like Master & Commander, but better word of mouth, leading to a Seabiscuit-like total of about $120 mill.
    10. Lords of Dogtown
    I think the best this film could do are Blue Crush grosses, which would be $40 mill, AT BEST.
    11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants
    Ya Ya Sisterhood, Hope Floats June-chick flick spot, here. Could open in the early teens to end up at around $40 to $50 mill. Outside chance, if it’s actually pretty good, at reaching Notebook grosses, which are the ideal, at $80 million.

  7. KamikazeCamel says:

    “4. House of Wax
    Will probably do Boogieman or White Noise business with a $20 mill opening leading to barely $50 mill.”
    House of Wax is getting EXTREMELY good buzz with the teen crowd. Everyone is talking about it, and more specifically how Paris Hilton is going to get murdered on screen – and everyone wants to see that.
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    (apparently this is going to bomb?)
    $42mil opening
    $130mil gross
    2. XXX: State of the Union
    $27mil opening
    $89mil gross
    3. Kingdom of Heaven
    (I think this will get better than Cinderella Man who are both going for the Serious Summer spot)
    $32mil opening
    $115mil gross
    4. House of Wax
    (I’m thinking very similar numbers to Texas Chainsaw in 2003)
    $26mil opening
    $67mil gross
    5. Kicking & Screaming
    (i have no idea what this is so I’ll skip)
    6. Star Wars III
    (As Geoff said, I think it’ll land somewhere in the middle of the other two BUT if it’s actually good then it could become the behemoth x2)
    $120mil opening
    $390mil gross
    7. Madagascar
    $47mil opening
    $170mil gross
    8. The Longest Yard
    $67mil opening
    $190mil gross
    9. Cinderella Man
    $22mil opening
    $101mil gross
    10. Lords of Dogtown
    $5mil opening
    $32mil gross
    11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants
    (again, i have no idea what this is so I’ll pass)

  8. L&DB says:

    Outside of Revenge, The Longest Yard, HHGTTG, and
    Kingdom of Heaven all of those films seem like
    solid earners. Maybe 30 million to 70 million
    tops for most of those films listed. The Longest
    Yard should be the big comedy. Kingdom of Heaven
    might get some Gladiator like opening numbers. If
    they can figure out how to sell that flick. HHGTTG
    should be a bigger flick than anyone wants to admit.
    If not, then, may this flick pull a Troy.
    Now on to SW which brings up an interesting question.
    Will Lucasfilm and FOX open this film on enough
    screens to absolutely give them a resounding
    box office ending to the biggest trilogy of all-time?
    I bring this up in large part because Attack did
    not even come close to opening on enough screens
    to come close to matching Spidey’s box office.
    Since Lucasfilm had rigerous theatre specs for
    Attack to play in.
    If Lucasfilm and FOX decide to take it up a notch.
    This should be, easily, the second highest grossing
    SW film ever. It should also be given the highest
    critical praise of a SW film since Empire. Of course
    these are critics. They loves to hold a grudge.

  9. locke says:

    Opening numbers / gross
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – 35-45 / 150: dammit this could open at 50+ if they’d get a killer trailer out there and stop trying to be really smart, over-explain the story, and show off eyecandy. Just convince people its insanely funny and sell the hell out of it.
    2. XXX: State of the Union – 20 / 80: Blade like numbers are not unreasonable without Diesel in the lead.
    3. Kingdom of Heaven – 35 / 110 – meh teaser, decent trailer, terribly edited four minute internet trailer but that showed off some interesting/compelling stuff regarding the story and iconic scenes (in the latter trailer, rise a knight makes sense instead of sounding cheesy, but it spoils what looks like a good film). Plus studio fights regarding length and final cut seems to make me think that this may not play well in theatres but find a nice home on DVD. Also Bloom is no Russell Crowe who sold the hell out of Maximus, Bloom looks too damned coifed in every shot. .
    4. House of Wax – 15 / 50: I bet this’d do better off season than in the summer.
    5. Kicking & Screaming – 30 / 120: This trailer never fails to make me crack up, Ferrell and subject matter will pull in family crowd. Sure it looks like a predictable and populist forumla flick, that doesn’t mean it won’t make money and nor will I automatically hate it (probably quite like it, I imagine, I’m a sucker for this genre).
    6. Star Wars III – Along with Charlie, SW is this summer’s gorilla. 31 Thurs / 85 Fri-Sun / 380-405. It’s SW, it’s the last one, the hype machine seems to be approaching TPM type of saturation (compared to the more low key AotC campaign). I think this’ll be huge.
    7. Madagascar – 40 / 160 – if they get the killer new trailer out there to eradicate ‘pass’ memories of the lackluster teaser and sell this hard on TV this will do well, but man that teaser hit audiences with a resounding flat thud every time I saw it last fall.
    8. The Longest Yard – 65 (4-day) / 170: This’ll be huge, great elements involved and already good trailers pushing it hard, I”m told the script was great as well.
    9. Cinderella Man – 18 / 75: Wrong season for this flick, Clint took all the genre buzz and it looks more formula than Kicking and Screaming.
    10. Lords of Dogtown – ???: Who cares, if Tony Hawk were in it, and it were released about four years ago it might have had a shot at a 20 mil opening, but I don’t see this opening with any significance.
    11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants – 12 / 30: You’ve got two great models for this films performance, Holes (brilliant film) and Because of of Winn Dixie. This film falls somewhere between both on a lot of levels. It’s a got female protagonists (always a harder sell than male protags since young girls have no problem with male protags but young boys are, overall, much less open to female protags) with a decidely tween girl kitsch/hook. Winn Dixie had big family appeal and Holes is a massively popular (and quite brilliant) children’s book that appealed to all its important demographics. And I don’t think this can hold the way Winn Dixie and Holes did because this is in the summer when big mass appeal blockbusters are opening every weekend.
    You forgot the two other 200+ earners of the summer, Poland: Batman Begins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    Batman Begins – 80 / 230: Each new trailer I see is better than the last and my estimates for this film keep going up. P&A is already going up all over LA, I just wonder how well this will compare to Spider-man, since it’s obviously reconcieved on that model for story, star, and director.
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – 85 / 205: undoubtedly the buzz is wobbly on this film now, but the spreads I’ve seen in the LATimes got me really excited for the film. If we see a new killer trailer soon I think this film can pick up these numbers, but right now the trailer just generates buzz in an audience but not WOWs. Still I have faith that I’ll at least like the project, so I really want this to work (don’t like the current One Sheet though.

  10. Geoff says:

    I think the reason Dave did not include Charlie and Batman is because he stated the first “six weeks” of summer.
    Regardless, I am not sure what to predict of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you asked me about eight months ago, I would have said it had an outside shot of number one film of the summer, based on Depp, Burton, the name, and that release date. But after the trailers an the poor performance of Finding Neverland (am I the only one who thought Miramax could made this a blockbuster, if they played their cards better?), I am just not so sure.
    Depp looking like MJ in all the photos and spots is not helping, either. And I am getting the same vibe from this one as a I did for Lemony Snicket, which did about %50 mill less than I thought, probably due to its weirdness. I can see this one opening at $60 plus and maybe reaching $145 mill. Who knows, I’ll need to see more advertising, first.

  11. bicycle bob says:

    if star wars isn’t the biggest hit of the summer i’ll be disappointed on two levels. my prediction and as a fan

  12. jesse says:

    I agree with you, Geoff, about Finding Neverland. Dismissed as it was in film critic slash geek circles, a lot of “regular people” who saw that film LOVED it, and I was pretty shocked that it took so long to get past $50 million. If Miramax could push a feel-good movie as bogus as Chocolat past 70, I have no idea why they couldn’t manage with Neverland.
    I didn’t realize the Chocolate Factory trailers weren’t playing well. The brief one I saw was terrific.
    Lemony Snicket is an interesting comparison, although this source material is better known, I think (be it from the book or the previous film). And it probably helps to have the movie star as the “good guy,” rather than the Carrey/Events role. Still, I was puzzled about the underperformance of Events as well.
    I think Charlie & the Chocolate Factory will get up to 150, at least. If Burton’s Apes remake can get to 180 on hype alone…

  13. KidMontreal says:

    I’ve never understood the point of this box office guessing game. But a few observations…
    Hitchhiker’s Guide – I have a feeling this will bomb. A $15 million opening is generous. The promo for this film has been woeful, and really other than 35-year sci-fi nerds, who is this film really appealing to?
    House Of Wax – as much as teens want to see Paris offed, i don’t think they want to shell out full ticket price to see it happen. especially with will ferrell among others competing for their dollar.
    Kingdom Of Heaven – odd choice for a summer movie. could go either way, but to me, bloom’s constant sword-and-sandal film choices are making him quite the dull star. he really needs to do an indie or something very different or this could be one the last high profile movies we see him in.

  14. Terence D says:

    So regular people can’t be “geeks” nowadays? I think a few of your so called geeks liked Neverland too.

  15. L&DB says:

    Nothing baffles me more recently than this slagging
    of the HHGTTG campaign. For once a studio sells
    a flick on BROAD THEMES (You know; A ROLLICKING
    ZOOEY DESCHANEL! PLUS; MOS DEF!), but they are
    selling it enough? This makes absolutely no sense.
    This best I can summize. This trailer and TV spots
    work for you. If it plays to certain themes/genre
    you enjoy. If you are not down with kick ass
    space adventure, then this ad campaign does nothing
    for you. Just a guess, but apparently no one loves
    British Space Operas anymore.

  16. Filipe says:

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 13m/55m
    XXX: State of the Union 38m/90m
    Kingdom of Heaven 50m/135m
    House of Wax 25m/60m
    Kicking & Screaming 27m/100m
    Star Wars III – 95m/280m
    Madagascar 34m/130m
    The Longest Yard 60m/170m
    Cinderella Man 22m/110m
    Lords of Dogtown 10m/28m
    The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants 13m/60m

  17. L&DB says:

    You are living in Bizarro (BIZARRO! BIZARRO!) world.
    SAGA OF ALL-TIME only makes 280 million dollars.
    This is it. Death, destruction, behadings, and
    the birth of hope. If critics or the casual fan
    are let down by this film, then truly there are
    more assholes out there then originally reported.

  18. MontrealKid says:

    SAGA OF ALL-TIME doesn’t mean it won’t have the potential to suck as badly as the first two. I think George Lucas has a pretty good job so far of disappointing fans and critics alike. Though the trailers look intriguing I’m holding my breath thinking that it will be any different from the abysmally paced, leaden performed first two.

  19. L&DB says:

    THose films are horrible. If you are a shallow soul. Who does not get subtly. GOd forbid a movie about the problems of a religious scientist and the ramifications of that. Followed by another film about self-inflicted repression in the main characters. Yeah they are so horrible.
    Complaining about the pacing? Did Quebecers miss out on that oftened praised Canadian attention span? Those films just move along. OF course if you are all sorts of superficial. Then they might drag for you. Who knows. You are still out to lunch Of Montreal Kid. This film kills. Easily.

  20. JKP says:

    The thing about Star Wars III, and the previous two films was never their trailers. Every time I have seen a trailer for the new Star Wars movie, I have always been excited. The previews are epic, fast paced, filled with foreboding, drama, and romance. And the films them selves have invetiably been absurd, dull, MELOdramatic, and epically confounding in a way that makes me wonder what I ever thought I would like.
    And within the last 6 months I have seen the teaser and trailers for SW III, and what can I say, I am excited, the trailer looks great. And the movie of course will be a miracle if it is anything better than the first two. (The biggest reason it won’t be is in order to make better movies, than the last 2, Lucas would have to realize he made a mistake. Instead his “ART” is blissfully his own, to create a Frankenstien as he has with SW I/SW II, and to vandalize as he has with SW IV/V/VI

  21. Mark says:

    Do not under estimate George Lucas and Episode 3.

  22. Joe Sullivan says:

    We should use the first SW trilogy as the indicator. In the first triolgy the Star Wars grossed the most, Empire Strikes Back the least, Return of the Jedi was in between but did closer numbers to Star Wars. Why? Because the fans knew it was the LAST ONE ever…
    I’d say Episode III will do about $375M.
    I’m sure Longest Yard will do Mr. Deeds numbers. Unless Cinderella Man gets outstanding reviews, I’ll be it gets washed away with the other big movies.
    Lucas and Speilberg to rule them all.

  23. Martin says:

    Of course, Episode 3 is (again) the “last SW film ever”, but unlike ROTJ, it’s the end of the middle.. basically we already know what comes later in the 6 part story. Unlike something such as Return of the King, which is the end of the end, Ep. 3 is the end of the first half. Which is somewhat less exciting. And which leads me to believe that, in this time in which Star Wars is less adored than ever before, it will not perform huge at the box office. Which still means upwards of $300+ mill, but it aint gonna take over like some fans would hope. Franchises to supercede SW keep popping up, and films like Hitchhiker’s simply seem more “hip” to the crowds. So, yes, I believe Ep. 3 will modestly disappoint.

  24. L&DB says:

    You know things are a bit strange when I, the former
    BHOS, stands behind statements made by Bob and Mark.
    We might have different politics, but damn it they
    some what support SW! That counts for something.
    Now let me just address JKP’s comments first. The
    only problem with Lucas and his art; is you. HE
    painted the house white, but you wanted it green.
    A few of you (you think these people are the majority?
    HA!) just cannot wrap your brains around what he
    has produced. Again, the first two movies have
    some trippy ass stuff going on, that too many people
    want to push aside because of “wooden acting?” Do
    you people watch more than 10 movies a year? Wooden
    acting, how about wooden ass audience. What do you
    want? Rick McCallum to tickle your asses with some
    Secondly, Martin, are you deluded much? All of
    your reason stems, again, from you. Think outside
    the box for a minute. Think about how the percentage
    of people online who bitch about SW are dwarfed
    multiple times by the KIDS who love this franchise.
    Yes, the kids, have taken it back. For a franchise
    no longer adored–it still somehow has remained
    a viable cash cow. I guess all of us folks buying
    Revenge toys are just a figment of your imagination.
    That the book could never become a Best Seller. Or
    all of those SW displays you will see all Summer are
    halluciantions. This franchises endures and can
    out last any friggin hobbit any day of the week (
    Aragorn might have been another story, but the KING
    cant even be the focus of his own damn movie.)
    This will be the SW film that gets the proverbial
    SLURP from all the critics. This will be the one
    , for you less inclined to think about film, to
    knock you on your ass. If you think this film
    will modestly disappoint, then you apparently have
    not been paying attention.
    Nothing has superceded SW. Lets see if anyone cares
    about the LOTR films in 30 years. Then will see
    if the films have been SUPERCEDED.

  25. KamikazeCamel says:

    “7. Madagascar – 40 / 160 – if they get the killer new trailer out there to eradicate ‘pass’ memories of the lackluster teaser and sell this hard on TV this will do well, but man that teaser hit audiences with a resounding flat thud every time I saw it last fall.”
    i don’t know what trailers America has been getting but here in Australia we’ve had a hilarious trailer playing for about 4 months. It’ll definitely do better than Robots and slightly better than Shark Tale.
    And i HATED The Phantom Menace but I actually liked Attack of the Clones somewhat, i thought it was fun despite the horrible acting because, let’s be honest, the Star Wars franchise isn’t exactly known for it’s stellar performances. In either trilogy.
    On Hitchhikers; I have never read the book but I am anticipating the movie because the trailer made it look DIFFERENT and ORIGINAL. But no matter what people think, it seems pretty ballsy to predict it will open to only $13million. Like… really. Even if it flops I’m sure it’ll do at least respectable numbers in its opening week due to the fan base. If Constantine can get nearly $30mil…

  26. bulldog68 says:

    Just thought I’d remind Dave & Co. about his Summer 2004 predictions.
    I quote Dave, “At the time we first had a summer with two $300 million grossers (1994

  27. Geoff says:

    How about predictions for the top ten, this summer, Dave, or do we have to wait until your column? That’s cool.
    Here are mine:
    #1 Star Wars – Episode III $350 mill
    #2 Batman Begins $220 mill
    #3 War of the Worlds $210 mill
    #4 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory $180 mill
    #5 The Longest Yard $165 mill
    #6 Madagascar $150 mill
    #7 Fantastic Four $145 mill
    #8 Stealth $130 mill
    #9 Kicking and Screaming $120 mill
    #10 Cinderella Man $120 mill

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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.

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