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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Hell


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33 Responses to “Box Office Hell”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    Based on the huge lines I was seeing tonight, I would expect 300 to be on the higher end of these predictions.
    PS: Finally saw Black Snake Moan and liked it very much.

  2. EDouglas says:

    It’s looking like it will be $60 million plus, maybe even closer to $70 million. Really well-made movie by an awesome director who put a lot of time and energy into making it as good as it was….but that’s pretty insane! (Then again, I guess it’ll make studios less nervous about greenlighting Greek war epics again.)

  3. $60mil? Huh? If that actually eventuates, that’s actually sorta sad. That’s more than Dawn of the Dead (a movie I put on my top 10 of that very strong year) made in it’s entire run. 🙁

  4. EDouglas says:

    Kamikaze, you didn’t like 300? I would think you’d be happy that the director of that movie is finding even more success while taking bigger chances.

  5. Blackcloud says:

    I’ll see how well 300 is doing tonight when I see it at my local 1-screen theater. I expect the lines to be somewhere between King Kong (non-existent) and LOTR/SW/HP (winding down the block).

  6. Jimmy the Gent says:

    300 is noisy fun, nothing more or less. It’s cool in the best since of the word. Just when you think the images and story are getting stale, a new image or twist comes along and surprises you.
    The problem with the movie is that spectacle takes over character a lot of the time. Only Leonidas and Xerxses leave any real lasting impression. The film might’ve been even more visceral if Snyder had been allowed to drop the entire subplot involving the Queen trying to get her husband more men. That storyline just slows down the action. Even the rape scene is rather boring. The only payoff is when she kills Theron. I bet Snyder would’ve dropped the subplot if he knew the wacko fanboys wouldn’t riot.
    The racism and homophobia is so over the top that I really couldn’t tkae it seriously. It’s too silly to be taken seriously. This movie makes Cruising look macho.
    The ’04 Dawn of the Dead is a better film because at a certain point Snyder and his screenwriter said “fuck it” and made their own version of the so-called Romero classic. It turned out they had enough original ideas to fill an entire movie. That’s why DotD is such an entertaining movie.
    I think the lasting impact of 300 could be a useful one. I have a feeling that using this kind of technology could be put to better use when it comes to making other period movies. I get the feeling it’s going to be harder for filmmakers to make a movie set in any time period before 1940. What if this technology could be used to make a big-scale epic about Harlem in the 1920s? You wouldn’t have to worry about all that pesky set dressing. It could be done in the computer. (The 1930s setting of Jackson’s King Kong gave us a glimpse of this kind of possiblity.) That’s what I would like to see this kind of technology used for in the future.

  7. Geoff says:

    Well, it’s official – $27.7 million for Friday! Wow, that is impressive. My wife is actually taking me out for a movie, tonite, and I have no idea what to see – I still do not really want to see it.
    Have been so focused on work, lately, that I have not been on this blog for forever. Big gross, I really expected it to do that much in the entire weekend – right on the level of Sin City or V for Vendetta. Something tells me that is what Warner’s was expecting, too. How did they pull this off? Did it have a Super Bowl spot?
    Forget those slump stories, now.

  8. Geoff says:

    Well, it’s official – $27.7 million for Friday! Wow, that is impressive. My wife is actually taking me out for a movie, tonite, and I have no idea what to see – I still do not really want to see it.
    Have been so focused on work, lately, that I have not been on this blog for forever. Big gross, I really expected it to do that much in the entire weekend – right on the level of Sin City or V for Vendetta. Something tells me that is what Warner’s was expecting, too. How did they pull this off? Did it have a Super Bowl spot?
    Forget those slump stories, now.

  9. Geoff says:

    Sorry for the triple post – not sure how that happened.

  10. Cadavra says:

    This just in: Warners has already announced a sequel in which the Greeks attack Israel. It will be titled “300…But For You, 250.”

  11. 555 says:

    Jimmy the Gent, the fanboys would not have rioted if the Gorgo subplot got dropped, cause its not in 300 to begin with. in the book, once she says, “Spartan, come back to me with your shield or on it,” that’s it for her. no politics with the council, no rape, just the 300 at the Hot Gates. I wish that subplot was dropped, cause 300 is already such a bombastic and visceral experience, that when the queen appeared on screen, the movie ground to a screeching and brain numbing halt. It added nothing to the story except for an extra 20 minutes of running time.
    Otherwise, I was thoroughly impressed by the film, and now even more so by the Friday estimates. I thought I was being bold by saying this movie would make 30 mil this weekend. Shows what I know, I guess.

  12. Tofu says:

    The Queen sub-plot did have one of the best payoffs (the crowd, in their bloodlust, went wild) and could have worked if it were not paced like muddy water.
    Without the slow motion shots, this 2 hour epic likely would have been a 1 hour thrill ride.
    $27.6 sounds correct. The theater was packed like it was summertime last night, and the lines inside hadn’t been like that since The Matrix Reloaded. That opening eclipses Vendetta’s entire opening weekend, and could come close to it’s total for the 3-day.

  13. Jeremy Smith says:

    A tip o’ the hat to Cadavra.

  14. Tofu says:

    Ol’ Nikki is cracking us up yet again…
    I’m told Warner Bros.’ much-buzzed 300… looks set to shatter the record for biggest March opening ever.
    Oh? But what of…
    FYI: Since 2006 sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown opened March 31-April 2 with $68 mil, it can’t be considered a March weekend record-holder.)
    My sides are hurting from laughing too hard… Including…
    (I said back on Tuesday that 300 was tracking huge — at least $40+ mil — and I was right!)
    Lady, no one paying attention this week had estimates below 36 million. Stop patting yourself on the back.
    Given that this gory movie from the creator of Sin City was cheap to make and shot in only 60 days and cast with no stars, it could end up one of Warner’s most profitable pics.
    Production budgets of $60 million for a March opener are cheap now?
    (Poseidon, Superman Returns, The Lake House, The Ant Bully, Lady In The Water, etc.)
    This has to be the 300th time (ha!) I’ve seen Lake House thrown into that group, defying the reality and even expectations set for that flick.

  15. 555 says:

    you’re right about the pay off to the gorgo storyline. got the biggest pop from the night in my theatre, people were clapping, it was ridiculous. still would have preferred a more straight, stream lined adaptation of the book, but I still like what I saw.
    And now I’m looking forward to Watchmen even more, cause I think Snyder has what it takes, and this BO haul will help grease the wheels a bit at WB’s accounting department.

  16. EDouglas says:

    Watchmen is a very different kind of story and anyone going into it expecting action on the scale of 300 is going to be hugely disappointed. This is probably why it’s taken nearly two decades to get a film off the ground based on it.
    Nikki Finke always cracks me up… Warner Bros had one rough summer and she can’t let it drop. They’re still sitting one one of the most overall profitable franchises to date, that being Harry Potter.

  17. 555 says:

    I’m looking forward to his take on Watchmen for various reasons, the first being that he is the first person in the last 20 years to stick so close to the source material (so far), and he said in an interview that Watchmen is more Taxi Driver and Dr Strangelove than it is Fantastic Four.
    Looking forward to watching this one develop.

  18. waterbucket says:

    I’m going to go see it again because Gerard Butler is sooooooooo HOTZ!
    Please Hollywood, more Gerard Butler and mucho less Leo Dicaprio.

  19. Blackcloud says:

    David, may we have the usual spoiler thread to discuss 300? Thanks.

  20. martin says:

    You mean, to protect the spoilers of war?

  21. Blackcloud says:

    Alas, the only spoils in this war were the plot, the acting, and the audience’s intelligence.

  22. That’s one big number. I… don’t have anything else to say.

  23. ployp says:

    Could this be the biggest opening for an R-rated film? What is the current title, does anyone know? I remember reading that it is HAnnibal?

  24. EDouglas says:

    ployp, not even close. Passion of the Christ was much higher, as was The Matrix Reloaded.

  25. Third highest is indeed going to 300 though. It’s also the largest first day since Pirates of the Caribbean. Crazy.
    I rewatched Dawn of the Dead today. Still great great stuff.
    Does anyone know what the readership of 300 is like? Is it really popular? Sin City couldn’t even make it past $30mil opening so something must’ve really clicked with the marketing.

  26. Also, the Wild Hogs number is frightening. Less than 30% fall. I guess after the heights of Brokeback Mountain the moviegoing public needed something like Wild Hogs. Can’t get too progressive there.

  27. Tofu says:

    $70,025,000 weekend being reported, estimates could land this one anywhere.
    Kamikaze: Readership? 300 was about five issues long, 88 pages in all, released in 1998. The readership never went outside of comic book circles.

  28. martin says:

    One has to attribute some, if not much, of 300’s open to an audience drooling for anything exciting to watch in theaters. Not much good out there, and this one stood out.

  29. Cadavra says:

    Camel, don’t forget a goodly number of those WILD HOGS tickets were purchased by under-17s who then went in to see 300 instead.

  30. James Leer says:

    “300” has had a HUGE presence on Myspace ever since January 1, when WB sponsored Myspace lifting its photo restrictions. Used to be you could only post 16 photos, but then you could post…you guessed it…300.
    Anyway, there has been an ad for the movie on every single photo page on Myspace through 2007. I think that’s gotta count for something.

  31. Tofu, that’s exactly what I was asking so why did I get the impression you were sounding snarky?

  32. LYT says:

    I wonder if David will admit that Comicon had something to do with the buzz for 300. Certainly it’s when I first became hyped to see it.

  33. ployp says:

    EDouglas, thanks!! So 300 is the 3rd biggest openning so far? I knew 300 would be huge, but this number is beyond anything I could ever imagined. But then again, nothing like this has ever hit the screen. It’s not playing in theaters here yet, but I’m dying to see it already.

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