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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

Now…. that’s a muthafuckin’ opening….
Second highest opening day ever. And for all of those who have foolishly pointed to a lack of originality as a problem with theatrical box office… bzzt… WRONG!.
X-Men: The Last Stand reminds us of the central truth of today’s movie market… give audiences something they want and they will come.
Based on the history, the four-day should be at least $120 million for the film. It

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97 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    “Mutants Cure Box Office” headlines coming soon.

  2. Bruno Benton says:

    I guess X III is on the verge of breaking Spidey’s opening weekend record. What the fuck!

  3. Geoff says:

    Even with a 20% dropoff on its second day, which would be unusually high, I cannot see this film doing less than $125 million over the 4 day weekend. That is just incredible.
    Just goes to show, reviews and actual quality have absolutely NOTHING to do with how these kind of films gross.
    I mean, last year, Batman Begins did about the same in its first weekend as this did it’s first DAY! That film was geared towards adults, had good reviews, and was a true quality picture.
    Hopefully, in the end, things will balance out a bit. After all, Batman had strong legs and ended up about $205 million, which I doubt is barely $20 million less than where X3 will finally end up. And Batman probably cost about $40 million less, too.
    So take that in your pipe and smoke it, Fox!:)

  4. martin says:

    Geoff, you’re looking at either the 2nd or 3rd biggest opening day ever. To compare it to chump change like Batman Begins is crazy. X3 has a good shot at doing at least $300 mill domestic.

  5. AlexGR says:

    If Paramount (that’s the MI-3 studio, right?) wants a 200+ million gross for MI-4, they should drop Cruise and get Ian McKellen to lead the team! Adding a hobbit or two couldn’t hurt either!

  6. Blackcloud says:

    “And then, the second $50 million Friday in history as a real possibility for Pirates 2.”
    Pirates 2 would be the first $50M Friday in history; Sith opened on a Thursday.

  7. anghus says:

    here’s the problem the studios havent quite figured out yet, though it seems obvious.
    Spiderman and Spiderman 2 – Fun Movies with a bit of cheese
    Xmen 3 – More Cheese, less melodrama
    Batman – Fun, goofy, Jack Nicholson provides cheese
    Batman Begins – No Cheese
    The main complaint of X3 is that its a little silly and kind of cheesy, but that seems to equal box office gold in this category.
    Superman Returns is an adult themed film. Very little for the kiddies. 200 million domestic.
    if youre making a comic book movie, add moderate amounts of cheese.

  8. abba_70s says:

    Well I for one liked it.

  9. David Poland says:

    I agree in principle, Anghus, but I remind, opening day is not based on the movie itself… it’s based on the marketing.
    On Batman Begins, yes. They did a franchise movie with glass ceiling because it was so dark. The first Burton Batman was a whole different thing, since it really started the modern era of comic book movies.
    The real answer to X3, I think, is that the last sequel found a slightly older audience than you would have expected and they liked it. So the audience for the film is really 8 – 50, which is shockingly wide for a comic book film. The tightrope Superman Returns has to walk is that it really is a comic book movie for older, less action obsessed audiences. Superman is a nice boy. So how do you get those adults and not leave the teens thinking, “booooooring!”? The bullet to the eye helps, bt it is a real challenge…

  10. Moviegeek123 says:

    The “bit of a shock” about “An Inconvenient Truth” is probably a bit of a typo. Based on its Wednesday and Thursday grosses, which were immense, the film probably made $80,000 on four screens yesterday, not $8000.

  11. David Poland says:

    You are correct… the person who put up the number this morning screwed it up. Correcting.

  12. AlexGR says:

    So, who in here thinks that “The Last Stand” is really the last X-men film?

  13. David Poland says:

    There is already a plan for a Wolverine franchise, AlexGR… and the big issue on X4 will be price. This one ended up wildly overbudget. Of course, a lot of that was the studio’s fault.
    I would not be at all surprised to see one of the X-Men spin off books to be the next “sequel.” Teen-X or something. Young, cheap talent plus Sir Ian or Patrick Steward or one of the current X-folks.

  14. RoyBatty says:

    The cornerstone of most selling is location, location, location. For huge box office, I really believe it is:
    If there was ever a lesson in how much a good date and what other films can do for your box office, this is it.
    I will not claim to have predicted that it had a shot at toppling SPIDER-MAN’s $114M opening, but $90M for the entire 4 day holiday weekend was always suspect. Fox took a gamble that by not opening the film on Wednesday (which has become almost de rigueur for Memorial Day) it would pump up the weekend numbers. It paid off.
    Variety must have been having some pre-weekend beers & joints when they came up with the scenario that DA VINCI would sap patrons. Sorry, but X-MEN 3 always was going to be the choice for families. You might argue that moms and daughters will go see DVC, but when most parents ask their kids “Hey, let’s all go to the movies. What will it be?” I don’t see them jumping on their beds going “Da Vinci Code! Da Vinci Code!!!”
    To really make things ripe for a big weekend, X-3 benefited from having underperforming films in the weeks leading up to it. POSIEDON was never a serious threat unless it had turned out to be a surprisingly good film (lord knows it wasn’t), but MISSION IMPOSSIBLE stumbling really helped.
    Opening the summer with a sequel no one wanted (the problems with Cruise’s image were out of Paramount’s control and not foreseeable when production started) that then failed to impress anyone (has a big popcorn movie ever had such a tepid climax before?) primed the pump beyond Fox’s expectations. The zeitgiest began to hunger for what it expects in the summer – the effects-laden fantasy film.

  15. adorian says:

    Isn’t “RV” with Robin Williams doing a lot better than most people expected? or hoped? or wanted?
    Its drop-off percentages over the past two weeks haven’t been very big. I know a lot of people who go to movies, and I don’t know anyone who has seen it, but somebody must be going.

  16. Ju-osh says:

    I think that the reason X3 opened so damn well is that the two previous films did such a stellar job in getting folks interested in these characters and curious as to their further adventures. Saying that it’s simply a case of audiences liking “cheese” or that it’s because of effective/expensive marketing just doesn’t cut it (M:I3 had all that in spades) or give due credit to the work Singer did in establishing this franchise. That said, X3 is a giant step down in quality from its predecessors. It has the most interesting plot of the three, yet squanders it with too many new characters, weak dialog and clift’s notes pacing. Although a good “summer” movie, it is relatively brainless where it could have been genuinely thought-provoking. I wonder if (when the $tudio inevitably changes it’s mind and decides to keep the series going) audiences will respond as eagerly, or if Ratner’s sub-Singer treatment hasn’t dulled interest and enthusiasm.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    “Cheese” isn’t even the major complaint about this movie from those who don’t like it. That would seem to be a general lack of interest in character development.

  18. Josh Massey says:

    Gotta love Roger Friedman:
    “(‘X3’) is now the second highest opener of all time, right behind ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Sith.'”
    He’s like a real-life Jackie Harvey.

  19. Josh Massey says:

    Geez, I should have kept reading…
    “For Ratner, whose successes have included two ‘Rush Hour’ movies and ‘Hannibal,’…”
    Does that guy not have an editor?

  20. David Poland says:

    He would clear his throat, but part of Mr. Ratner was in the way…

  21. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Does the success of X3 finally prove that the bitching by geek fanboys on sites like AICN and their ilk has cero effect on the box office? If I was a studio exec I would realize that licking the asses ofese sites does nothing but provide advertisement. Is that the only reasons studios even tollerate the Internet geek crowd?

  22. Ju-osh says:

    The reviews coming out of AICN have NOT been uniformly negative. In fact, the first two X3 reviews by AICN regulars (Moriarty was one) were positive.
    That said, isn’t this site (which I find smart, stimulating and often times highly emotional and opinionated) also part of ‘the internet geek crowd’?

  23. Jimmy the Gent says:

    This is off-topic but am I the only one upset at IFC for dropping its coverage of the Cannes Film Festival? Why would a company that claims to be in the business of giving voice to independent moviemakers decide that not showing the closing-night ceremony is a smart move? People like Coppola, del Toro, Inuritu, Almodovar, and Linklater have cut their teeth on indie movies, and now they’ve been invited to the ball. Why would IFC not support that by deciding to cut corners? I know not a lot of people watched the damn thing, but for those who did it meant something. It is a way to see major movies like last year’s A History of Violence, Broken Flowers, and Three Burials get lauched. For some movie buffs we got excited from hearing about some of the major Fall releases that were being screened at Cannes. I remember not being able to contain myself when P.T. Anderson won for Punch-Drunk Love. It turned out to be one of the best movies of 2002. I think IFC should strongly reconsider their decision for next year.
    Anyone else feel my pain.

  24. Arrow77 says:

    I don’t understand what you mean Jimmy. “Does nothing but provide advertisement”? What is a studio exec supposed to be looking for? As for the creators of the film, they still provide a pretty good idea of what they need to do to make a good film, at least for this genre. There’s no way Batman Begins would’ve been this good without geek sites.

  25. David Poland says:

    Wrong entry to be posting that to, Jimmy.
    Fox is using Drew “Moriarty/Tom Rothman is a nazi” McWeeny’s comments as a pull quote on the ads.
    The simple truth is, you advertise and promote where your audience is and AICN is one of those places for genre film.
    No critic, no website, no magazine, no newspaper has a tacit effect on box office for wide release movies anymore. AICN never had any real power… except in town… where the players are sensitive to every nick and lick. The same, by the way, is true of me and others in the e-journo biz.
    I would argue – and have for years – that anyone who actually reads AICN on a regular basis is such a fanboy/girl that they will go see every one of these films no matter what is said on the site. Period.
    The problem for studios – and this came up large on – Snakes on a Plane – is that it is very, very easy to lose perspective when a story gets “hot.” That means, essentially, that 10 key outlets pick up on it. And all of a sudden, alarms ring, positive or negative. And rationality goes out the window because execs know that whatever happens, if there is blame to be laid, and there is somewhere to point, they will get smacked for it.
    Bottom line is, this is a key year on this issue. We’ve had a bunch of $20 million-plus openings without screenings. We have had almost everyone gang up on Da Vinci and saw huge numbers. In fact, aside from Inside Man, X3 will be the first fairly unanimously well reviewed film of the year – and soft reviews at that – to crack the Top 25… and it did that on Friday alone.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    And allow me to supply the missing conclusion to the above:
    ‘…and that’s a bad thing for movies and audiences alike.’

  27. David Poland says:

    It is what it is, JMc.
    Fact is, as someone who is more aggressively discriminating, I have more choices, on screen and on DVD, than ever before. Of course, it might cost me $25 to see my choice of film, but that price point is evolving.
    I don’t get to decide what is “good” for others. I don’t drink Budweiser or wine coolers or eat a lot of junk food either. But it doesn’t have to taste good to me to taste good to others. It’s my job to understand what’s popular and to also offer my opinion on quality. They don’t often go together. But they almost never have…. either way. There are great artists who were not popular in their time. There are terrible artists who were. There were artists who were not popular who never deserved to be popular and who are held in overly high esteem by historians. There are artists who were popular who have been downgraded by “experts” because of that popularity.
    There are plenty of people who hate all Scorsese, Coppola, Ford, Hawks, and Hitchcock. But it gets more complex. Are Lord of the Rings movies at the highest level or art? Highest level of genre? Cameron movies?
    Take your feelings out of the equation. What makes something great? The art of the walls of my home is almost all “low art” by many standards. But I love that it is “low art” and still smart, challenging stuff. Looking at it makes me feel something. And a lot of movies I hate have that effect on people who I love and/or respect.
    So… bad? Bad is walking out of the theater truly dissapointed.
    At least that’s my take.

  28. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I want to meet the person who hates all Scorsese, Coppola, Hawks, and Hitchcock. If that person exists what are they doing watching movies? They should be prevented from having children and ruining everyone else’s good time.
    What’s wrong with wine coolers, Poland?

  29. EDouglas says:

    I tend to question the motives of a “critic” who is also a working screenwriter trying to pitch his ideas to the same Hollywood studios that are pulling quotes from his reviews for their ads. There’s a certain point where you have to decide what you want to do in life and follow it, rather than creating such an obvious and exploitable conflict of interest.

  30. martin says:

    AICN is a weird group of individuals who are sort of hacks in every arena, from screenwriting to journalism. But like a car-wreck, I can’t turn away. It’s still a site I visit at least once a week and I always find some entertaining content there. I haven’t respected the writers there for many years, but the site is still fun to check out. I also suspect it’s sort of geek-central for the low-IQ fanbase, which is always fun to see in a talkback.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    DP, do you really think it’s good for anyone that movies can make huge amounts of money regardless of quality, purely based on hype and marketing budgets? How is Brett Ratner’s next multi-million dollar paycheck good for anybody except him and his people? It’s great that you’re non-judgmental as far as allowing other people to consume junk food, but it seems like we’re moving, culture-wise, to a realm where junk is the only option. You keep mentioning that indie release box-office has been way down for the last couple of years. THAT’S BAD. That means the studios are going to be less interested in funding smaller, risky projects and more interested in funding ‘sure things’, like Ghost Rider, for example, where we already know the movie will open to at least a $20m weekend and end with probably $50m domestic and $150 worldwide.
    I guess this is why cultural conservatives hate moral relativism so much…because it seems to make smart people apathetic about the thousand tiny outrages going on around them.

  32. Arrow77 says:

    jeffmcm, people have been making this “all movies will be junk” argument for decades. It’s never going to happen! Today’s sure thing is tomorrow’s flop, always has been, always will be! Superhero movies were a sure thing, then a thing no one should touch, than a sure thing again. Tom Cruise was also a sure thing two years ago. And you know Fox will keep making X-Men movies until they make one too many.
    Studios need to make smaller films. Those risky projects you’re talking about cost a fraction of the price of those “sure things” and most of them have more chance of making their money back at one point. Plus, indie movies dominated the awards last year and studio needs some cred.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    An article on the MCN frontpage discusses staffing reductions at the Disney studio and a commitment to make fewer movies…I’ve heard as few as eight a year. To echo what jeffmcm has said, how is this good for filmgoers? The eight films Disney will make will be franchisable event films and low budget family fare. No more Royal Tenenbaums or Sixth Senses or O Brother Where Art Thous.
    It’s about risk and the studios continue to show that they’re not in the risk business anymore. X3’s success plays into that mindset more that we care to acknowledge.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks Wrecktum. My problem is when box-office commentators make analyses about the business side of things but then don’t seem to care about how that affects the creative side, as if they’re two separate realms that don’t have anything to do with one another.

  35. Ju-osh says:

    I can’t imagine Disney cutting back to only eight films a year. What will they show at the El Capitan the other 44 weeks of the year?!

  36. Wrecktum says:

    “Sing-a-long” classics. ;P

  37. Wrecktum says:

    One last thing about X3: If the 3-day number is anything close to Spiderman’s 3-day record, expect Fox to find as many phantom dollars as they can to beat the number. I think we’re looking at a new record regardless if it actually happens or not.

  38. RoyBatty says:

    Summer movies made with wit, a sense of fun and a genuine respect for the material – don’t get me started. Just makes me happy to be the age I am because I got to enjoy the last time that happened on a regular basis.
    DP – considering the big deal you made out of that car commercial (Lowest Ego Emissions), how about weighing on the implication this cure plot in X-3 has when it comes to gays. Because when you think about it, the film’s subtext is that gays should be given the option if they want to be “cured” or not.
    Man, if you think the debate in the deaf community is heated over cochlear implants just wait to see what happens in the gay community if they came up with a “cure.”
    The mutant cure also brings up this issue – if none of us here on this board could ever become a mutant, would you want to live in world where others could easily subjugate you? Especially if some have already attempted to kill every non-mutant? I say level the playing field and protect our ability to decide our own fates – cure the bastards (please don’t confuse the second part of this with the first, I think real human beings should live and let live when it comes to sexuality).

  39. jeffmcm says:

    That last shot with McKellen reminded me of the brilliant final moment in John Carpenter’s Christine. It also helps undermine what RoyBatty is saying above: that the cure is only temporary (in the best comic-book style, nothing is ever permanent).

  40. Melquiades says:

    I really hope some comedy troupe takes on the mutant/gay analogy and does a parody where homosexuals rise up to rebel. Can’t you just picture the scene where they storm the troops on the Golden Gate Bridge? (In San Francisco, no less).
    “Let’s get ’em, boys!”

  41. Geoff says:

    Like I said, “hopefully” things will balance out. It is obviously wishful thinking that Fox and other studios will not learn the wrong lessons from X3’s success.
    That said, I am pretty confident that this film will not even come close to $300 million, no way, no how. Sorry, but these kinds of films just do not have legs, they are heavily frontloaded.
    Think about it. Films like Hellboy, X2, and Sin City got rave reviews and were beloved by fans. Hellboy opened up in the high ’20’s and couldn’t even crack $60 million, X2 did about $85 million and barely cracked $215 mill, and Sin City did about $30 and struggled to get to $70 million. The marketing for these films is all geared to make them very frontloaded. It’s just how the studios want it, too. Hell, Fox is probably planning a late September, early October DVD launch for X3.
    Making money right in the range of War of the Worlds sounds just about right. And making over $200 million, when you’re following up Batman & Robin, your star is Christian Bale, you have no “money shots” for the trailer, and you’re making a film for adults….sorry, that’s not chump change.
    And Warners is gearing up for several more Bat-sequels and has the whole cast, sans Katie Holmes (thank god), locked up, while Fox is running from the X franchise. What does that mean? They dodged a bullet.
    That said, I have no doubt that X3 is probably going gross at least 50% more than Superman Returns. Dave is right, the teenagers and people in their ’20’s are just not gonna go ga ga for that one. And it’s gonna get destroyed in its second week by the Captain Jack, anyways.

  42. Blackcloud says:

    “Gotta love Roger Friedman:
    “(‘X3’) is now the second highest opener of all time, right behind ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Sith.'”
    He’s like a real-life Jackie Harvey.”
    Nikki Finke makes the same “Attack of the Sith” mistake in her post on X3’s huge opening. She and Friedman probably have the same lousy source–or the same lousy editor.

  43. Josh Massey says:

    Wow, that’s interesting… So which one of them is cutting-and-pasting the other’s work?

  44. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Is it just me or does a final total of $200mil for a movie that’s going to make roughtly $130mil over four days seem like an underestimation of the highest order?
    Seriously, especially when it’s actually gotten decent reviews and is a well-known comodity bowing out. It just sounds like crazy talk to me.
    A lot of y’all need to settle down with the whole “kids are growing up with crap” stuff. It’s been like that for decades. Every Summer season has a couple of great blockbusters and a bunch of other stuff (possible with ‘Electric Bugaloo’ in the title). There’s always the low-budget horror titles that make money and the sex comedies and so on.
    When I’m 30 I’ll probably look back at my movie going experiences of old with fondness despite not liking what currently out. It’s always been like that.

  45. David Poland says:

    X2: X-Men United
    Opening – $85,558,731
    Domestic Total – $214,949,694
    Worldwide Total – $408 million
    Anything between $250m and $350m wouldn’t be shocking.

  46. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    exactly. It would have to have absolutely rotten legs to reach only just over $200mil.

  47. Nicol D says:

    X-3 was very entertaining and as usual, Stewart and Jackman are worth the ticket price alone for me.
    Of course it’s massive success does come with a downside…let’s be blunt;
    If there is an argument to be made about everything that is bad in Hollywood it can be summed up in two words: Brett and Ratner.
    X-3 succeeds despite, not because, of him.
    That this success will allow him to continue to have his dance card filled with top projects isn’t a great thing in the long run.
    It will also confirm to some studio heads that it is best to give big expensive projects to workaday directors who jump when told as opposed to true visionaries whose work will be remembered in decades to come like a Spielberg, Scott or perhaps even a Chris Nolan.
    X-3 is fine entertainment…but because of Ratner if left a faintly bad aftertaste in my mouth.

  48. Citizen R says:

    A frontloaded box office usually results in a domestic gross of between 2.5 and 2.7 times the 3-day opening. The only Marvel films to have multipliers lower than 2.5X are The Punisher (2.44X), Hulk (2.12X), and Elektra (1.90X).
    X3 should see a 3-day of $ 105-115 million. A 2.5X or 2.6X multiplier will likely follow, leading to a domestic gross of $ 260 million on the low side, and $ 300 million on the high side.
    Worldwide gross should be in the range of $ 500-550 million.
    I expect there’ll be a fast greenlight for the Wolverine spinoff, and a continuation of the X-Men brand itself in two or three years, with a fourth film focussing on the young ‘uns, with Gambit as the new star player in Wolverine’s absence.

  49. JckNapier2 says:

    Make of it what you will, but Showbizdata reports that X-Men 3 did $32.1 million, a rather drastic 29% drop from Friday. This means that it has almost no chance of beating Spider-Man’s number and will struggle to match Shrek 2 and Star Wars III’s $108 million figure.
    Scott Mendelson

  50. Martin S says:

    You’re looking at a huge opening because of a short running time and, like all Marvel films with mediocre reviews, the return is front-loaded. Goodwill generated from the first two, plus no interesting competition and two decent trailers, paid off.
    The drop-off should be like Spidey2, around 65%, but the next two weeks really possess no direct competition. Word-of-mouth doesn’t seem to be in Hulk territory, so they’ll hover in the 55-60% range until Nacho Libre on the 9th.
    As for X4, Poland can believe me or not, but it’s not happening. The franchise is going to Paramount and will be re-launched in a few years. Wolverine stays at Fox because it was a separate right from the Lightstorm days. Magneto and Storm were actor negotiated deals which are optionable but improbable. Arad had little choice when it came to Wolverine because Rothman wasn’t going to let the entire X-meal ticket leave and Jackman wanted a new deal that would match his Bond offer.
    Just read Geoff’s post. He’s dead-on.
    As for Superman, it’s either going to be magic or it’s Hulk. This movie will have no high-middle road. You have an entire generation of high school/college people that are going to compare Routh/Spacey to Welling/Rosenbaum, and that last trailer confirms Smarmy Spacey which is a bd sign, IMO. Smallville had its best ratings last year, which shocked the hell out of everyone in WB, especially Horn who wanted it canceled, (he did help get Aquaman nixed from CW, though).
    All the Supes2 talk feels like Singer trying to cash in on a pay-or-play before it opens. He lost out on Trek for now, so the guy is adrift.

  51. Spacesheik says:

    Will Patrick Stewart’s Professor X (who in the comics was the main gravitas, unifying force of the team) ever get more than 15 minutes screen time in any X MEN film?
    In the first film he went into a halfway through the film.
    In the second he was offscreen for most of the film.
    In the 3rd flick he got killed 1/3 into the film.
    What does Lauren Schuller Donner and her team have against giving Prof. X at least equal screentime to Magneto?

  52. the keoki says: is reporting a 32mil Sat for X3. About a 28% drop, so it would seem Spidey’s three day record is just fine. But 100mil in 3 days is still pretty likely, which would give it the Memorial Day record which stood surprisingly for almost 10 years. All of this cash will continue to blind Fox of the fact that they rushed this film. I read Aint It Cool and all of Dave’s stuff, and what’s really funny about this is that they’re both right about this film. Harry is being a cry-baby about it, but at the core of his arguement he’s right. Fox rushed the movie out and got lucky. I don’t suscribe to his criticism of the film, I actually liked it, but I think his heart is in the right place. Dave is right that Ratner is a hired gun and the movie is a bit of a mess. But it was a fun mess.

  53. Crow T Robot says:

    I hear ya Spaceshiek.
    The film also totally skips over Prof X’s long lost daughter Hitachi (responsible for him losing his hair in #231: The Conditioner of Death) and that his wheelchair is made by the Cybertron company, which we all know (I believe from #342: The Thing With Two Things) is the same alien corporation that gave Wolverine THREE of his six his metal claws.
    Seriously, worst… movie… ever!

  54. anghus says:

    as a note, a lot of people are actually enjoying X3. The two most notable minorities, the web folk and the critics, are just that, the minorities.
    I heard nothing but good things from people i know who saw it. Of course, they only know of the xmen through the movies. And the kids (ranging from 8 to 12) couldnt stop talking about Beast.
    I think at some point, there has to be a disconnect between what critics and internet fanboys like and the word ‘quality’
    Dave complains a lot about all the stories out there about the decline of ‘quality’ movies, and its impact on the box office. While ‘quality’ might be a problem to some, i think it’s that adjective that i have such a problem with.
    Critics have been eliminated from the box office equation, as X3, Davinci, and every horror film released in the last few years have proven. The critical mass has responded with countless editorializing in their reviews about the declining quality of movies, which has only further alienated them from the typical moviegoer.
    and those really are the key words here:
    typical moviegoer.
    We’re not the typical moviegoer. The typical moviegoer doesn’t analyze box office trends, read comic books, or are even that literate for that matter. The biggest problem i see right now isn’t that the industry in failing, but the media is. The media has become tabloid based, and every story has to be one of significance. “What does Poseiden tell us about Hollywood box office?” I’ll tell you what: Very little.
    But movies aren’t talked about as movies anymore. Every movie is now supposed to be part of some larger equation that no one can quite figure out the factors on. Somewhere in the last five years, we stopped talking about movies, and started talking about the industry. While i like talking about the industry, most people don’t. Critics and internet prognosticators are the minority.
    When your typical moviegoer goes to see a film like X3, and they like it, and all they read is stories about how bad it sucks from everyone else, it keeps driving that wedge in and widens the divide.
    I’m not advocating that critics shouldn’t be anything but honest. But let’s face it, the old journalistic principle of “know your audience” seems like an afterthought in this modern era where critics are more prone to preach than to entertain.

  55. Citizen R says:

    Box Office Mojo has the weekend estimate up: $ 102 million. Fifth biggest opening ever.

  56. Josh Massey says:

    Will Spacesheik ever NOT FUCKING RUIN a big plot point when a movie is still in its opening weekend?

  57. Wrecktum says:

    Yeah, I come here to look at the BO analysis and industry info, not to read movie spoilers. Can we stop it, please?

  58. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Fox is getting that supersize opening for “X3” with one pitfall — overbooking.
    An AMC near Philly opened 5 prints of “X3”. 4 prints played in the 4 giant-size halls and 1 print played in a normal-size hall. At least 2 shows of “X3” sold out yesterday — both of them in the normal-size hall. Moral: I’d rather open 2-3 prints and sell out than open 5-6 prints and not sell out.
    FWIW “Da Vinci” sold out at least 1 evening show in that AMC. So did “Keeping Up with the Steins”.

  59. THX5334 says:

    Yeah SpaceSheik, I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I’m a big X-Men fan.
    You’re a real dick.
    That should be the one thing that gets you temporarily banned – Posting spoilers without warning.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    Hey Anghus, I understand what you’re complaining about, but what exactly do you want? Are you asking that critics try and relate more to the ‘typical moviegoer’? Isn’t part of the responsibility on their shoulders to attempt to see better movies and read more reviews?

  61. palmtree says:

    “Isn’t part of the responsibility on their shoulders to attempt to see better movies and read more reviews?”
    Probably their responsibilities are something more like being able to attract readers. That’s always been the case except now all the negativity shown for certain movies are futile precisely because they are so negative. Some movies aren’t meant to be good and for a critic to whine about how bad it is misses out on the appeal.
    The lesson of X3 and Da Vinci is that the studios will make what they can sell. That’s the way it is in this country.

  62. jeffmcm says:

    So we’re in an all-commerce, no-art realm of history? I agree that it’s pointless for a critic to ‘whine’ but a critic does have the responsibility to be honest and tell people if a movie is bad and why. Here’s a rhetorical question: do critics have a reason to exist at all these days?

  63. anghus says:

    im not really complaining.
    i think what im advocating, if im advocating anything, is that critics and entertainment journalism could really use some different perspective. Film critics, by nature, are cut from a very similar cloth. And i think what would be nice is some different persepctives, from some new voices. How that happens, i dont know, but if you look back at the internet websites that came into popularity (aint it cool news comes to mind) a few years back, the draw was that it came from a different perspective from what was out ther. Juvenile? Sure. But still, it was a unique voice, even if people didn’t like what was being said. I think we need some new, different voices that connect with a more mainstream audience.

  64. jeffmcm says:

    Sure, it would be great if mainstream audiences would pay more attention to critics. Whoever it is would have to manage to be populist enough to manage to write bad reviews of popular hit movies without making people feel dumb and therefore, upset…a tall challenge in our world today.

  65. anghus says:

    jeff, short answer: other than for entertainment purposes, critics have no reason to exist.
    their impact on what people see is negligible at best. S

  66. jeffmcm says:

    Well I have to totally disagree with you.
    First of all, the role of a critic should not be for entertainment purposes at all. Anthony Lane’s reviews in the New Yorker are ‘entertaining’ but often completely worthless. Second, why should a critic’s standing have any relation to their box-office influence?
    Are you saying that film is not worth writing or thinking about, except in terms of how much money something made and what’s next in the pipeline?
    I find this kind of anti-thought attitude very, very disturbing.

  67. palmtree says:

    “So we’re in an all-commerce, no-art realm of history?”
    That’s not what I said. My original post said that “make what you can sell” is the motto in our country, not in other countries around the world. We have very little arts funding compared to our European counterparts. Since money is less a factor, then they can make more artsy movies that don’t depend on audiences to support. Many films we consider to be art were made with commercial interests first…doesn’t make them any less commercial.
    “the role of a critic should not be for entertainment purposes at all.”
    That’s totally wrong…movies, of all the arts, is one that invites far less academia than say classical music, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, etc.

  68. jeffmcm says:

    Well a critic should be entertaining, at least rudimentarily, but he should have some other purpose in mind besides dazzling his reader with his wordplay.

  69. Eric says:

    Critics are not irrelevant, but they are irrelevant to movies like “X-Men 3.” To me, the critic’s most useful function is to call attention to movies I wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s a given that I’ll go see an X-Men movie, but without somebody like DP or Ebert, I wouldn’t have even heard of “Brick” or “The Proposition.” A critic is a very useful filter, especially if his and your tastes overlap.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    Irrelevant to its box-office take, but certainly not irrelevant to pointing out the reasons why Ratner is an inferior director compared with Singer or the socio-political meaning of a film like Poseidon.

  71. anghus says:

    critics have no corolation with box office. however, the studios have believed for years that they have, that bad reviews could sink a film, while good ones could give it legs. the last 5 years have proved that marketing is all that matters in opening, and that critical mass is pretty much an afterthought.
    Critics believed they held such power, because many have openly said so. The internet sites claimed to have sunk movies for years. The curtain has been pulled back, we all know its bullshit.
    So much time and money has been spent throwing stuff at the consumer, that their choices are made without reference to the critic. Critics are nothing more than subjective perspective. I write reviews for a regional magazine, and after a few years i figured out that people prefer PT Barnum to Pauline Kael. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but ive become a firm believer that someone reading a film review wants something honest, and something entertaining. They dont want a blow by blow description of the film, or an in depth analysis of style and references to films theyve never seen or heard of.
    Sure, there are people that do want that. But look at the breakdown of cerebral film fans to mainstream ones…
    I think what killed the critics is the air of superiority. By that i mean critics saying ‘You should be seeing this” or “why arent people seeing (insert movie name)” Entertainment journalisn is remarkably simple: give the people what they want.

  72. jeffmcm says:

    We’re really talking about two different things here. I think I must be one of those cerebral fans you’re talking about. I read film criticism and stylistic analyses for fun.

  73. Spacesheik says:

    I am very, very sorry about the Prof X comment.
    I usually post spoilers (like the brief review I gave in the other thread concerning X3) — I sometimes get over eager and assume everyone knows major plot points (from AICN etc)
    THX5334 — no need to get insulting. Mistakes are made by all.
    If its any consolation …..SPOILER AHEAD….He aint really dead judging by the end credit bonus footage.
    Again apologies to all

  74. Josh Massey says:

    Jesus, just shut your mouth, don’t make it worse.

  75. anghus says:

    nothing wrong with being a cerebral movie fan. i myself am one. however, assuming the rest of the world is cerebral is the mistake critics make.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think most critics are actually cerebral enough to qualify for what you’re saying. They’re more likely to be pretentious, or posers, or just plain not very bright. Jonathan Rosenbaum is a good example of a critic who sees the world through a very strong liberal/intellectual filter, but he’s smart enough to make it forgiveable (most of the time).

  77. Martin S says:

    Palmtree – “…”make what you can sell” is the motto in our country, not in other countries around the world. We have very little arts funding compared to our European counterparts. Since money is less a factor, then they can make more artsy movies that don’t depend on audiences to support”
    Like Canadian health care, it’s easy to champion when you’re on the outside.
    And UK funding is worse off than Canada, by the way, so I’m guessing you’re touting, what, the French model?
    The funny thing about all of this is the best films – artist or commercial – are coming from the Far East, and it’s all corporate/private money because they have American-based markets. Even the Aussies, with local access to the best Hollywood production materials, is floundering under state funding.

  78. Spacesheik says:

    Josh Massey,
    If you really were an X MEN fan you’d have been there the opening weekend or have followed it from script to screen (via AICN or whatever).
    Apparently you just like to bitch – if you haven’t seen XMEN III by May 28 then you have my sympathy.
    Oh and your statement:
    “Will Spacesheik ever NOT FUCKING RUIN a big plot point when a movie is still in its opening weekend?
    I challenge you to find a post of mine spoiling any film (with the exception of one above I apologized fou). I doubt you will not find any.
    I checked your blog: about as interesting as a bowl of fermented fungii, which is why you probably frequent this site and try to cause a ruckus hoping someone will click your sorry arsed name.

  79. palmtree says:

    Martin, the article you posted proved my point. I wasn’t champion-ing anything, but yes, when I said Europe I actually did mean Europe.

  80. martin says:

    I don’t appreciate spoilers any more than the next guy, but to freak out because of an X3 plot point is kind of crazy. What are you, 12?

  81. RoyBatty says:

    I don’t think he freaked out, he got pissed because in the middle of box office thread someone fucked up and listed spoilers. And then made it worse by actually putting a spoiler in his apology. Then he pulled the same thing DP did when he fucked up that auction thing by trying to explain himself.
    Part of sincerely apologizing is realizing you gonna have to eat some shit for it. Ya fucked up, bro, twice. Maybe Martin has to work all weekend and was really looking forward to seeing it Monday. What the fuck does it matter how big a fan he is? The man wanted to see something and you ruined a part of it. Getting personal just makes you seem like you weren’t really sincere about it.

  82. Josh Massey says:

    Alright, let’s take this point-by-point.
    1) I’m not a huge “X-Men” fan – I enjoyed the first two movies, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read a comic book in my life (my childhood was instead full of those James Kahn/Alan Dean Foster-type “novelizations”). However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see the movie after the opening weekend crowds die down – spoiler-free. That’s why I avoid places like AICN and talk movies here in these (usually) more mature environs.
    Also, it’s a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. Am I really going to waste this 90 degree weather watching a Brett Ratner movie? (I’m certainly wasting enough of it writing this post).
    2) My “Will Spacesheik ever not ruin…” phrasing was mimicking your post (“Will Patrick Stewart’s Professor X…”).
    3) My mommy says my blog is the bestest thing she’s ever read. That’s enough for me.

  83. Spacesheik says:

    I have no issue with Martin, bro.
    My issue is with people who call others “dick” or “douche” and accuse them of *always* posting spoilers when in actuality they only posted one and apologized for it – the dude I was talking to was ‘Josh Massey’ not ‘Martin.’
    PS – It’s cool though, being accused of being Jeff Wells in one thread and ‘pulling the same shit David Poland did’ – hey that’s a badge of honor, love.

  84. Josh Massey says:

    Hey, I only said one of those. Don’t put “dick” into my mouth…
    Wait, that didn’t come out right…
    Wait, that didn’t either…

  85. Martin S says:

    Palmtree – “the article you posted proved my point. I wasn’t champion-ing anything, but yes, when I said Europe I actually did mean Europe”.
    4th paragraph – “…some of the industry’s most prominent voices are now sounding the alarm — warning that their industry is in dire straits, and that Telefilm Canada, its federal funding agency, is dangerously adrift. One of those voices is actor-director Paul Gross.”Telefilm is floundering,” he says. “It’s a public service, paid for by the Canadian people. But we are not making movies that people want to see. If we made roads that nobody wanted to drive on, that would be hard to defend as a public service.”
    Palmtree – “…”make what you can sell” is the motto in our country, not in other countries around the world. We have very little arts funding compared to our European counterparts. Since money is less a factor, then they can make more artsy movies that don’t depend on audiences to support”
    If you were simply stating that other Western countries were stronger federal funders than the U.S, I’d agree. If the “they” in question were the filmmakers, fine. But by stating they can make more artsy movies because they are not audience supported implies it is a self-sustaining system, which it is not. It’s a bust in the U.K, on half-life in Germany, non-existence in Italy and stagnant in France.
    The article even goes on to point out how federal dollars are being thrown at Hollywood films like The Mutant Chronicles. Nightwatch, Brotherhood of The Wolf, Wolf Creek. All state funded and made with the “make what you can sell” mindset.

  86. jeffmcm says:

    There’s no reason why stuff like Nightwatch, Brotherhood of the Wolf, or Wolf Creek deserve state funding.

  87. palmtree says:

    Thanks for that, Martin.
    I can see your point that state funding doesn’t work or just turns into populist movies. The problem has more, I feel, to do with the fact that they must still compete with Hollywood and they must still operate in a cinematic world that favors populism. All the funding poured into music, theater, museums, etc. are seen as valuable because those arts don’t have the perception of needing to be populist. Of course, there is always the danger of overfunding artists who don’t know how to use the money.
    And state intervention can work such as in Korea, which has now become a self-sustaining system.

  88. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^That’s the upside of state support in a film industry, is that eventually you can produce a self-supporting and vital industry. South Korea is a great filmmaking nation today, which they were not 10 years ago.

  89. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “If you really were an X MEN fan you’d have been there the opening weekend or have followed it from script to screen (via AICN or whatever).”
    I’m an X Men fan but I sorta have more to worry about than reading every single daily review of the set from AICN. That’s very fanboyish.
    “There’s no reason why stuff like Nightwatch, Brotherhood of the Wolf, or Wolf Creek deserve state funding.”
    I can’t say anything about the Russian or French film systems, but pretty much all the Australian films that get made get made partially (if not entirely) due to government funding. it’s just a fact of life that countries that aren’t the US or UK can’t produce a sustainable film industry like yours if it worked on the same sytem. Australia producers roughly 25 films a year for theatrical release and most are funded by the government because the government WANTS a national film industry that can produce hits (such as Wolf Creek, made for $1mil, made $6mil+ here alone) and help boost our international profile.
    It’s just a fact that Australia doesn’t have a studio system like you to make movies like Wolf Creek. And it’s a fact that horror movies make money, so why wouldn’t the government want to help inject life into a fledgling industry such as ours?
    The Australian film industry is completely different to yours so don’t talk about it as if it is plz.

  90. Martin S says:

    Palm – see, I’m totally with you on federal funding for more traditional artistic venues, (theater, music, museums) because they’ve been steamrolled by pop culture.
    KCamel – I get the need for the govt wanting a return, but where I get lost is how countries like Australia and UK, with access to studios wanted by Hollywood, can’t cobble together a truly local production. Peter Weir, Crowe, Kidman, Jackson, Weta, etc… it’s not like you guys have a zero talent pool.
    What makes sense, to me, is if countries offered financial incentives to those with birth or dual citizenship. Something more than just personal tax breaks.
    The protectionist approach France takes is never going to match the studios. You have to compete, and the best way to do it is to try and de-centralize the power base. This goes for not just other countries, but for the rest of the U.S. If you really want to see filmmaking change, it has to originate outside the industry and away from the agents.

  91. Nicol D says:

    Of course the nightmare scenario of governement funding of the arts is a situation like Canada.
    With the exception of French Quebec, virtually no English speaking Canadians see English speaking Canadian films and the subject matter is all geared by quotas where it must be deemed ‘Canadian’ content-read as real PC.
    Because the filmmakers get paid by the government grant agencies regardless, it has led to a situation where the ‘artists’ do not even try to make entertaining films that would speak to a large demographic of the public.
    Some people are trying to change it (Reitman, Paul Gross) but by and large it is the antithesis of the Australian or British models.

  92. Josh Massey says:

    “…the government WANTS a national film industry that can produce hits (such as Wolf Creek, made for $1mil, made $6mil+ here alone) and help boost our international profile.”
    That’s the first rational defense I’ve EVER heard regarding government funding of film.

  93. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^That makes sense, but it seems that a movie like Wolf Creek should have been able to fund itself, being obviously commercial and cheap to produce. But if they needed to fund it to get the production ball rolling, so be it.

  94. Joe Leydon says:

    An idle thought: Do you think Warners moved the opening date of THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD from Fall 2006 to First Quarter 2007 becuase it suddenly occurred to folks that, hey, maybe Brad Pitt might be too busy to do much publicity this summer?
    Or, the flip side: Maybe Warners worried that moviegores might be burned out on Pitt by summer’s end?
    I don’t know which, if either, could be true. Opinions?

  95. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe they want to piggyback on Babel publicity.

  96. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: Anyone who has access to the EncoreWestern move network on cable — check out Philip Kaufman’s “The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid” tonight and tomorrow. Robert Duvall plays Jesse James (brillinatly) as a wild-eyed, cross-dressing, sexually ambiguous wingnut. I don’t think that’s the approach Brad Pitt will be taking.

  97. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    The thing is, Australian stars ARE returning here to make local films (Cate Blanchett made Little Fish, Nicole and Heath are making Baz Luhrmann’s new romance, Geoffrey Rush is always making Aussie stuff most recently Candy with Heath Ledger, etc. But these people can’t just make Australian movies, and even when they’re good such as Little Fish their American/world wide distributions get screwed up – how the hell did Little Fish do so poorly when if they had a decent distributer they legitimately could’ve made an Oscar run for Cate and Hugo and made at least a few million.
    There a few Australian distributers who are in the movie making game (Village Roadshow and Palace from my memory) but most are only distributers because they can’t afford to be making movies. And many private investors know that Aussie movies don’t exactly make much money overseas so it’s not in their best interest. And that’s why government funding is extremely important. Without it our industry wouldn’t be producing movies like Look Both Ways, Oyster Farmer, Candy, Little Fish, Kokoda (which I’m guessing you’ve only heard of about 2). And if you get enough private investors to produce a big-budget movie then it’s all sort of pointless because the piece of the pie they would get would be so small. Sorry if I’m not making much sense.
    What it all comes down to is that the Australian industry relies on these funding bodies (the opening credits of most aussie movies will have several government and state funding bodies) to produce films that we can take to the world.
    And the reason Wolf Creek needed government funding was probably due to the fact that Australian cinema officially died for 2 years and nobody (repeat NOBODY) would have been willing to fork out cash on the remote off chance that it would make money. There was the belief that Australians just didn’t want to see Australian films. Wolf Creek was not considered commercial simply because it was a local film. Of course, Wolf Creek rode it’s title as the most controversial film of the year to big rewards, which may indeed allow private investors to take more risks. But for now… no.
    BTW, Jackson and WETA are from New Zealand and on behalf of all Australian around the world, please don’t ever mistake us ever again. That’s horrible. 😛
    On the matter of Jesse James… uh-oh. The start of 2007 is dead zone for wannabe Oscar hits. I think if Jesse had’ve been released this year it would have boosted Pitt’s chances with Oscar.

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