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David Poland

By David Poland

Klady's Friday Estimates


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65 Responses to “Klady's Friday Estimates”

  1. EDouglas says:

    Dreamgirls is already on its way to a Brokeback Mountain level opening though it will be going wide next week… will be really curious to see how this expands and how it fares through the busy 12/29 weekend.

  2. marychan says:

    The result of “Charlotte’s Web” is a big surprise….

  3. Wrecktum says:

    I assume Charlotte’s Web is playing very young and very female. So it should pick up on Sat. and Sun. But still a big disappointment for Paramount and Walden. Walden should stick with Disney…they’re the only one who can sell their films.

  4. MattM says:

    As is the result of Eragon, which seemed to generally be expected to be a complete disaster. Though I expect Charlotte to have legs. I think yesterday was probably the last day of school for young kiddies (the main target audience for the film), so it’ll get a big Friday-Saturday bump.
    Also, remember those Dreamgirls numbers are inflated by virtue of the higher ticket prices in two ways:
    1. The markets it’s showing in (even at ordinary ticket prices) are higher priced than the general market.
    2. At least in NYC, it’s $25/ticket through the 24th.

  5. Wrecktum says:

    I haven’t spoken much about Happyness, but I’m going to pull a Poland here: This film was obviously always going to be one of the top players of the season. It’s a feel good family movie starring the world’s only remaining superstar. To ignore or blow off this film is silly.

  6. David Poland says:

    The comparison to Brokeback is specious, since Dreamgirls has many fewer showings in the three theaters it is in… as well as the increased price.
    The only relevant comparison of the two right now is that you could not buy a ticket at the ticket window for either film on its first Friday evening in exclusive release.

  7. Kevin says:

    “The problem with Denzel is that he doesn

  8. Kevin says:

    “The problem with Denzel is that he doesn

  9. Direwolf says:

    I wrote several times that while predicting Eragon was difficult the books had a much larger built in base than many on this board had assumed. Additionally, ads were everywhere. A good job by Fox.

  10. EDouglas says:

    David, but wouldn’t the lower amount of screenings balance out the higher ticket price? It’s still impressive that the Ziegfeld in New York has sold out most of the night screenings (there’s 2 a day) for the next week, much like Chicago.
    As far as Pursuit, I’m not sure which tracking you looked at but the numbers I saw were very high for Pursuit, better in all quadrants than most other movies that have opened in the last few weeks. Maybe the awareness wasn’t that high, but definite interest far outweighed disinterest. It’s probably playing well among older people in general compared to the other movies in theatres.

  11. EDouglas says:

    Also, re: Dreamgirls… I think the Monday Christmas Day release was an interesting one, but I think it should be able to hold that business until the weekend. Not sure how many theatres it’s getting next Monday but if it ends up in the Top 5, it’ll be gold.

  12. David Poland says:

    You were the only one over $19 million for the weekend, ED and no one had it winning… not even you. I’m not surprised by it winning the weekend, but even after Friday matinees, non-Sony studios were writing it off as a dissapointing weekend.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Is that figure correct, that Home of the Brave made less than 1/10 of what The Good German made? Jeez.

  14. qwiggles says:

    “Buoyed by the critics, who seemed offended

  15. martin says:

    What is “Home of the Brave”? I agree Charlotte’s Web was a really disappointing #, but maybe the kids will turn out sat and sun.
    Anyone else think Balboa will surprise at the box office starting Wed.? Could do a $35 mill 5 day.

  16. David Poland says:

    I would argue that there is a bias amongst many critics – consious or sub – especially this time of year, where the simply pleasures of a film are “not enough.” I think that comes through in many of the reviews of both Happyness and Dreamgirls.
    “I didn’t like it” is fine. But reviews of both films seem to say quite often is, “I get it… I see what audiences like… I felt those moments they felt… but I wanted something more strenuous.”
    Of course there are cases where they just didn’t like the movies. But it has been interesting reading reviews on both films that completely acknowledge what brings people to their feet in Dreamgirls and tears to the eyes in Happyness – even saying “I was overwhelmed by this or that moment too” – but somehow still can’t okay that sentiment.
    Let’s not get into a thing where I am accused to attacking others for disagreeing with me. It is a finer line than that. And it involves critics who will defintely be “fresh” on both or either film on Rotten Tomatoes too.
    It strikes me a little like the “Sideways is the most overrated film of the year” thing. Not agreeing with that sentiment is one thing, but that seemed a bit overstated and aggressive. And so do some of the graphs in the reviews of these two films.

  17. EDouglas says:

    “You were the only one over $19 million for the weekend, ED and no one had it winning… not even you.”
    Nope and a regular correspondent even told me that he was sure it was going to win (but he also thought Eragon would be a huge bomb)… I think I was tentative because of the original 2500 theatre count and the support I know is out there for Eragon.

  18. EDouglas says:

    Totally agree about your comment on critics, though… I think they can’t allow themselves to like a movie that makes them cry or cheer and really sticks with them, if it doesn’t have some sort of intelligent sociopolitical statement to make. And that’s a shame.
    And critics seem to have a bias towards Will Smith, too.. the reviews for Hitch weren’t that great and that’s probably one of the few romantic comedies that I really think surpassed the genre (I’d count The Wedding Singer in there, too)

  19. jeffmcm says:

    DP, it sounds more like the reviews you’re speaking of are merely not well-written. “I wanted something more strenuous” is a perfectly valid criticism, but one that needs to be stated as such. Plus I think we should be more encouraging of critics when they do this kind of thing, then when they’re soft, which I know you have also criticized.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Well, Edouglas, I would have to agree with those critics you’re talking about. If a movie doesn’t have an ‘intelligent sociopolitical statement’ then by that definition, it’s not intelligent, and I’m not going to really enjoy a tearjerker or a cheerfest if I feel that it’s vacuous or if I can sense trickery or manipulation.
    But I agree, I thought Hitch was a superior film of its type.

  21. T.Holly says:

    I’m misanthropic, so I’m not really PC, but my black friends so much prefer to be called African Americans, AA’s for short.

  22. T.Holly says:

    Sorry, EDouglas, but your taste in movies is just so baaad.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    ‘African-American’ is PC. ‘AA’s’ sounds like a baseball team or a battery.

  24. David Poland says:

    They call ME Mr. Tibbs.

  25. T.Holly says:

    Like I said, mc, who cares what it is or I am, I’m telling you how black people refer to themselves and each other.

  26. Blackcloud says:

    “If a movie doesn’t have an ‘intelligent sociopolitical statement’ then by that definition, it’s not intelligent.”
    That’s rather reductionist. Did I miss something?

  27. David Poland says:

    Um, how did we get into a discussion of what to call black people?
    Was it something I wrote? Or is this a holdover from last week?

  28. jeffmcm says:

    I’m not disagreeing with the thrust of your point, but I have never heard of any person refer to himself as “I’m a double A”. Perhaps I need to see Dreamgirls sooner rather than later.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    Blackcloud, I don’t think every movie needs a sociopolitical statement along the lines of ‘oil is bad’ or something easy like that, but I do demand that for a movie to be considered ‘intelligent’ that it have some kind of perspective on the way people live in the world today.

  30. qwiggles says:

    Okay, fair enough. But to accuse “the critics” of being wary of anything other than “intellectual distance” seems rather like a gross oversimplification to me.
    Over the past couple of months or so, I’ve read some passionate reviews of films as disparate as Pan’s Labyrinth, Babel, Letters, and even Science of Sleep. Say what you will about the films themselves, but the reviews I speak of dive right into emotional territory. I’m not sure, then, that I see the wave you’re seeing by implying that the critics of Pursuit and therefore critics in general are offended by its emotion, “as usual.”

  31. David Poland says:

    Fair enough… is “brazen emotion” fair?

  32. Joe Straat says:

    Crap. Wrong about Eragon. Good thing I’m not in the box office guessing game as a job.
    I did watch The Persuit of Happiness. Maybe it’s that the trailer reveals almost every single major plot point in the movie, but I just didn’t connect with its emotion. It’s well made, there are a lot of human details , and Will Smith and Thandie Newton do a convincing job of playing average people on the lower rungs. In fact, the only glaring flaw is their need to explain the importance of the bone-scanning machines in voice over after it’s perfectly well explained through the actions of the movie, which is pretty minor for all but the crankiest of viewers. The movie just didn’t hit me even I’m thinking, “You know, I should REALLY be feeling something right now.”

  33. EDouglas says:

    “Over the past couple of months or so, I’ve read some passionate reviews of films as disparate as Pan’s Labyrinth, Babel, Letters, and even Science of Sleep. Say what you will about the films themselves, but the reviews I speak of dive right into emotional territory. I’m not sure, then, that I see the wave you’re seeing by implying that the critics of Pursuit and therefore critics in general are offended by its emotion, “as usual.”
    Maybe it’s the type of emotion or how it goes about achieving it. But again, if you look at Babel, Letters, and Children, they have that political context in there, as well as the emotions. Pursuit also has layers, as does Dreamgirls, but they’re more subtle rather than being exagerrated or obvious. Or maybe there just aren’t enough AA critics out there or those who can understand or relate to what the characters are experiencing. (Whereas Sideways is about a writer and a womanizer, something all critics can relate to.. ha ha)

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Babel has some of the most ‘brazen emotion’ I’ve seen all year.
    Plus, I thought a critic was someone who didn’t allow superficial emotion to get in the way of their honest analysis of a film.

  35. T.Holly says:

    What DP’s saying about critics shouldn’t surprise anyone. It would surprise me to know that trackers take reviews into consideration. Will Smith can open a movie, even “Hitch.”

  36. Eric says:

    David, I was immediately irritated by your “intellectual distance” comment, because anti-snobbery is still a form of snobbery. But I think you clarified it well– it is indeed “brazen emotion” that makes many critics suspicious.
    However, I think that suspicion is often warranted. For every smart, emotional movie like Babel, there are ten manipulative trainwrecks like, say, Crash.

  37. T.Holly says:

    Good 4:05 post ED. AA critics! I’ll take this up for advisement with my palies. It’s not Black History Month, yet.

  38. T.Holly says:

    BTW. Seeing Venus tonight, Below The Line News is still taking reservations, and no restrictions have been placed on who can attend. Nuff said.

  39. Wrecktum says:

    It is so much “brazen emotion” or “sentimentality” that critics recoil against.
    As mentioned earlier, Babel is full of brazen emotion, as was last year’s Crash, but both films are well-regarded by critics. I believe that it’s more sentimentality or “sap” that gets critic’s goats.

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Once again, the tracking fails to predict strong support for a movie with black folks in the lead roles. (See Diary of a Mad Black Woman, etc.) I’m curious: Do the people who do this tracking ever speak to black people? Hell, do they even know any black people?

  41. Wrecktum says:

    Certain demos are always underrepresented in tracking, and tracking firms would be the first to admit it.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    Yeah, Wreck, but this is pretty damn consistent, wouldn’t you agree?

  43. jeffmcm says:

    You would think that if they are so quick to admit it, they’d do something to fix the problem. They are a business, after all.

  44. MattM says:

    Some of that under-representation is inherent in the methodology. In order to ensure appropriate geographic sampling, polls use land-line dialing only, and many demographic segments are under-represented in a land-line sample, especially with the rise of cell phones.

  45. David Poland says:

    The business of tracking is mostly about letting studios know who knows about their film and whether they are generating positive response with ads. The use of tracking to predict box office is a fool’s game, proven week after week.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Regardless, interpretation of the two things probably goes hand in hand, and it sounds like they’re not doing their job if they aren’t contacting likely African-American audience audience members.

  47. David Poland says:

    Joe, you have asked why I have issues with one-source, biased “reporting” and analysis of the box office on certain sites. Well…
    Leaving alone the attempt to present one teen as definitive of all teens, let’s just look at the unresearched/intentionally false (your pick) “reporting” on Dreamgirls’ Friday numbers on another site.
    The Claim: “They’re doing about 50% of capacity, although business will bump today.”
    The Facts: There were five showings of Dreamgirls on 3 screens on Friday. All five sold out.
    Total tickets available for sale in Los Angeles were 1500 in two Cinerama Dome shows. In New York, there were 1050 tickets available to the one showing in The Ziegfeld. At the Metreon in San Francisco, there were two screenings with a total of 942 seats. Multiply 3492 available tickets times the $25 ticket price and you get the $87,300 gross.
    And finding this out… it took all of 20 minutes of research.
    And the gross, by the way, was reported in full on Friday morning since it was all pre-sell.
    Why is someone out there “reporting” 50% box office sales when in fact there was a 100% pre-sell? You tell me. And then tell me whether I should trust that source week in, week out.

  48. David Poland says:

    J-Mc… studios know about this hole in the game. It’s only an issue because we are discussing tracking… which is not meant to be public and the which is being revealed to the public by people who wither com ein looking to sell something (the sources) or who have no idea what they are talking about (the “reporters”).

  49. Joe Leydon says:

    Once again, I never said anything about interpretation. I only asked: Week in, week out, Nikki Finke posts the Friday numbers first. No matter how she gets them, not matter what she makes of them — does she get them wrong? Or does she just wake up earlier on Saturday than anyone else?

  50. EDouglas says:

    “I’m curious: Do the people who do this tracking ever speak to black people? Hell, do they even know any black people?”
    Yes, everyone once in a while, you’ll see African-American specific tracking. I think they have that for Dreamgirls and Pursuit also had numbers for AA specific audiences polled. (80% definite interest)

  51. Joe Leydon says:

    Well that’s mighty white of them. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  52. Wrecktum says:

    Remember, tracking is not for predicting first week boxoffice, it’s to ascertain how a studio’s marketing campaign is doing and whether they should change their ad budget or alter their marketing strategy.

  53. Devin Faraci says:

    C’mon, this “being forced to feel something other than intellectual distance in a movie theater” stuff is nonsense. Critics don’t like nakedly manipulative films. I’m shocked they didn’t give Gardner a cute dog too.
    And I found the movie troubling because of its deeply regressive politics.

  54. wholovesya says:

    No one should expect Eragon to go anywhere past this weekend. It is so bad it makes Uwe Boll’s movies watchable. My friend and chatted the entire time and no one cared. One woman at the end of our row just couldn’t wait to get out of there.

  55. movielocke says:

    Letters from Iwo Jima trailer:
    looks like a release of Dec 20, I will get to see it before heading out of town for the holidays.
    Shrek the Third trailer is on AOL as well. but I don’t have the link handy.

  56. Blackcloud says:

    “I do demand that for a movie to be considered ‘intelligent’ that it have some kind of perspective on the way people live in the world today.”
    I understand that viewpoint, but I’m skeptical about it for two reasons. The first is that the way people live today is the same as they’ve always lived, hence the movie isn’t really about today. The second is that it is about today, hence once what it’s about is gone, it’s no longer intelligent. Once the context goes, so does its meaning. But if that is the case, then it never had any meaning because ultimately its only context is itself.
    Arguing that a book or movie has to have a contemporary perspective is a legitimate interpretive approach. It strikes me as very historicist. While I recognize the merits of historicism, I’ve never found it wholly persuasive. And I say that as someone trained as a historian.

  57. Joe Leydon says:

    “I do demand that for a movie to be considered ‘intelligent’ that it have some kind of perspective on the way people live in the world today.”
    Then Crash really deserved the Oscar last year, because it was the only Best Picture nominee about the way we live now, right?
    (BTW: I liked Crash.)

  58. jeffmcm says:

    I bet your wife calls you Joe-ker. Ha!
    So let me try and remember the other four best picture nominees from last year – Curious, Crash was the only movie set in the present day, and while it was so clearly striving for meaningfulness, it also failed more than any of the other four movies. I don’t really understand how anyone could think that Munich or Brokeback are not about ‘the way we live now’, since the issues of how we respond to terrorism and how we deal with societally unacceptable romance are still somewhat contemporary, but this is a fairly old argument-email me if you want to continue it.
    Blackcloud: I don’t intend that ‘today’ be so specific as to be historically limited. As long as a movie is about _something_ beyond itself – in other words, basic relevance – is of primary importance. That said, I look over at my DVD collection and I see things like Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Goldfinger and I couldn’t tell you what either of those are about, in a larger sense, except pleasure and escapism.

  59. EDouglas says:

    “And I found the movie troubling because of its deeply regressive politics.”
    Yeah, takes us all the way back to 1981… damn them!

  60. Dr Wally says:

    It seems almost certain the Happy Feet will overtake Apocalypto on Saturday and Sunday. Someone asked Mel Gibson about this and apparently he replied ‘Are you a penguin? Fucking penguins. The penguins are responsible for all the matinee grosses in the world.’

  61. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Par gets two thumbs up for opening “Dreamgirls” as an old-school roadshow: Reserved seats, premium price, program booklet — plus no adverts before the feature!
    “Dreamgirls” goes semi-wide (~800) on Xmas Day and will be arthouse/upmarket where possible. Won’t go wide (1200+) until after MLK Day.

  62. EthanG says:

    Holy crap, 28,000 per theatre for Dreamgirls???
    Home of the Brave is finished…

  63. Stella's Boy says:

    Have you read Devin’s review of Pursuit EDouglas?

  64. EDouglas says:

    No, but I probably should since I was sitting next to him when I saw it.

  65. T.Holly says:

    It’s official, feel free to move back and forth between the terms, throw people of color in there once in a while too. I’ve been reformed, fortunately.
    The Black Reel Awards nominations were voted on by over 100 movie and television critics across the nation from December 12-15, 2006. Winners for the Theatrical, Independent and Television categories will be announced February 7, 2007 and will be broadcast in late February on the Black Family Channel.
    The Black Reel Awards are presented by the Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film, a nonprofit organization with a mission to target, identify and prepare candidates who will represent the next generation of filmmakers and potential film executives that will be able to provide a different sensibility to the stories currently told onscreen.

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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