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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Hell – 12/1/06


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12 Responses to “Box Office Hell – 12/1/06”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    Wells didn’t do his usual weekly report on what the tracking numbers were: I’m therefore shocked to see that Nativity Story is expected to do so well since it looks incredibly shoddy.

  2. EDouglas says:

    Looks like I’m definitely the high man on the totem poll on this one. I have to say that tracking wasn’t *that* great on Nativity Story (and it was awful on Turistas…worse than Venom and Cry_Wolf, remember those two?) but I do know there is a group of people in the South/Heartland who will go see the movie based on the subject matter alone. I wouldn’t expect it to do tons of Friday business but it will be underpredicted for the weekend and there’ll be a big jump on Sunday. Hope I didn’t overestimate it (though 3100 theatres means it doesn’t need a very high PSA)

  3. jsnpritchett says:

    I think it’s now safe to say that Nativity Story won’t make anywhere near $18 million this weekend.

  4. Eric says:

    I know I’m behind the times here, but I saw Happy Feet yesterday.
    ***semi-spoiler alert***
    What a bizarre little movie. The last act was genuinely unsettling and unexpected, particularly for a kids’ movie, but I was definitely going along with it. And then there’s another sharp turn, and we get a happy ending that’s totally untrue to the rest of the movie.
    Just… odd.
    Incidentally, after that I saw the Tenacious D movie, and I think I may have enjoyed it more.

  5. Tofu says:

    As many of us have said, the ending to Happy Feet possibly wasn’t dark enough… Then again, it is titled Happy Feet.
    However, penguins doing that to survive, and then the entire world pulling out of the entire region? A little hard to buy, Mr. Miller. Just one bridge too far.
    Still one of the most cinematic flicks of the year. Worth the price of full admission.

  6. David Poland says:

    The journey of enlightenment story almost always ends happily in the movies, Eric… no?
    I love the third act of Happy Feet. It is weird, unexpected, and incredibly audacious. Seeing the film a second time, I admired it even more.

  7. Eric says:

    But what he discovered was a very harsh real world. The movie expertly built into a very unkind ending– as I said, I was going along with it. I was unsettled by the zoo scenes, but it felt right.
    It was the stuff after the zoo that wasn’t right. If anything, the humans would have exploited the penguins further, not left them alone. The ending just didn’t logically follow from what preceded it.
    I admired most everything before that, though. Miller is an impressive visual storyteller and I wasn’t irritated by the celebrity comic relief, as I normally am with these movies.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    I wonder how much The Nativity Story may have been hurt by reports that, in real life, the actress cast as the Virgin Mary is carrying a most un-immaculate conception. (Never underestimate how quickly and widely news like that can spread among religious folks. They are not all redneck cretins. Many — if not most — are as tech- and Internet-savvy as anyone who posts on this blog.)

  9. palmtree says:

    Eric is right about the movie, but not the genre.
    No studio executive would allow their cute cuddly penguin animated movie turn into a tragedy. So the critique is correct, but it is most likely not something the filmmakers had a choice with. Basically within the realm of lowered expectations, it is amazing and commendatory that Miller and Co. infused it with as many dark themes and “reality” as they did.

  10. Eric says:

    Palmtree is right in suggesting that Miller would not have been allowed to end the movie on such a disturbing note. But to introduce those elements without resolving them in any reasonable way is the mistake. If they knew they had to provide a happy ending, it is an odd choice to provide such a convincing unhappy one and then blatantly undermine it.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    I haven’t seen Happy Feet, but I’m not surprised to hear that the director of Babe: Pig in the City would do something upsetting at the end of his movie.

  12. EDouglas says:

    ” I do know there is a group of people in the South/Heartland who will go see the movie based on the subject matter alone.”
    Or not. 🙂

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