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David Poland

By David Poland

The Comedy Of Commenting

This started in the BYOB thread, care of THX5334.
Ad Age ran an insane story this afternoon about the theory, floated by Paramount of course, that The Heartbreak Kid‘s soft opening was a result of Halo 3 being released a few days before that movie.
However, some found the comments on the Kotaku website that cited the Ad Age silliness to be significant.
And I say, even more absurd.
My sense of the geek boy demo is that they are, in reality, the easiest marketing marks in the galaxy. They will go see the worst movies in the world by the standards of anyone else and often withn their own ranks… and then go try out the shitty sequels as well.
How do you explain the Saw series? Ok… one gimmick movie they love. Maybe a second. But the third film, down $7 million domestic was up $25 million worldwide. And even the downturn was not as severe as you would expect from just more crap.
At least Police Academy got fewer dollars in as the painfully bad series got older.
Or maybe Hostel 2 was just a sign of the geeks getting wise… no matter how geek hyped it was.
But the laugher is the geek boys on Kotaku claiming they just want better movies. Well, I say, then maybe you should stop going to all that crap!
So far, twelve movies have opened to over $40 million this year. The Top Five clearly found four-quadrant status. Then you have 300, Transformers, Bourne 3, FF2, Rush Hour 3, The Rat, and Ghost Rider. Four of the seven are first and foremost teen/geek boy mega-events. (Rush Hour 3… who knows?) Yes, they found more than the Geek 8. But were they really worried about “tremendous amounts of crap” or do they just like making noise?
Adults who really think it might be crap don’t go. Girls who really think it might be crap don’t go. “The Boys” go to what seems cool and loaded with new effects… boom boom, bang bang.
But hey… you may think I am writing out of my ass.

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11 Responses to “The Comedy Of Commenting”

  1. Noah says:

    It’s tough, I think we lose sight of the fact that the majority of the people who go to movies don’t go on websites like these or kotaku. All of us here exist in a niche that is much smaller than we might think. So is Halo 3 the reason ticket sales are down? Obviously not. The reason the Saw movies are successful? Because people who just go to the movies to turn off their brain and get “entertained” want to see a “scary movie” around Halloween and hopefully put their arms around their dates.
    Perhaps the people on Kotaku really want better movies just like we’re constantly on this blog and others like it complaining about the quality of movies. But the truth is that most of the ticket-buying public feels okay with the quality of the movies because they only go 6-8 times a year.

  2. Brett B says:

    I’ve been a regular reader of both this site and Kotaku for years. I bought Halo 3 at launch and didn’t go see The Heartbreak Kid. One had absolutely nothing to do with the other.

  3. David Poland says:

    I love that people express themselves here on The Hot Blog. But I don’t for a second think that this group of commenters expresses the general thinking of the majority of people who read the blog (99%+ of whom never comment), much less the general public.
    They may sometimes… but not so that it can be counted upon.

  4. IOIOIOI says:

    You know what really pisses me off about this Halo 3 nonsense? THE DUMBASSES QUOTING HOW MUCH MONEY IT MADE OVER IT’S FIRST WEEKEND (or whatever). First off; let us not ignore that Video Games never state solid sales figures. Their figures are still a bit in the shadows in terms of every other industry. Secondly; a game that cost 60 bucks compared to a movie that cost a median price of maybe 9.50, and I am supposed to be impressed at the 60 BUCK GAME SELLING 170 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF UNITS? REALLY? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE YOU STUPID MEDIA-HACK FUCKS. Sorry for venting, but this has pissed me off for days in terms of this stupid game on that exploding system. It’s not like it’s a GTA or a GB/DS game. People act as if everyone owns Halo and a 360. When more people own Wii sports. So… fuck Halo 3 and fuck it’s cultural significance.

  5. Noah says:

    I agree with you, IO. It’s just a matter of a few people banding together and speaking with the loudest voices that makes people think it’s a cultural phenomenon. Please…it’s not exactly Google.

  6. THX5334 says:

    I’m not disagreeing with your assesment. But you can’t deny the feelings of the posters whether they are the guillable market or not.
    The one film I disagree with you on a personal level is Resident Evil Extinction. My girlfriend is pushing me to see that film. I could care less to see that movie and I’m the gamer (I work in that business too and own all the systems. I guess that makes me a man child, huh Anghus?) and she’s not really into games at all. Another girl I dated was really into this series as well. Both of them dug the scare factor and the Millia Jovovich/Female lead aspect. I think there is a bigger female audience for that movie and those types than you’re giving credit for.
    And of COURSE teenagers are going to go to those movies. It’s basic sociology. They need a place to get away from the parents and frolic and discover their puberty, etc.
    When I was 13 back in the 80’s, from 12-16yrs (until I could drive) we would hang around the theatre. We would see a movie and then hang out after and bullshit, chase girls, etc. This was in Colorado where I was born.
    My family lives in Phoenix now and whenever I go back to visit and drive past the theatres there, I still see teenagers hanging out there, even though there’s starbucks right in the same plaza.
    Something about movies and being an adolescent. It’s still that dark place to get your sexual discovery on.
    So, yeah, they’re buying tickets. But it doesn’t mean they’re really loving the product.
    Oh, and IO, God I’ve been such a fan of your posts until now. I don’t know about you, but here in LA there was lines around the block at Best Buy in West Hollywood the day that game came out. I play with people into their 40’s. This game franchise does push the envelope if you know anything about the medium. But in this case, you’re coming off like the guy who’s just trying to look cool by being the non-conformist who’s not into what’s popular.
    Kinda like the guy in 1978 who would tell you you were an idiot for liking Star Wars and Dr. Who and Space 1999 was where it’s at.
    But then again, I guess that’s before your time.
    And take all this with a grain of salt because it’s my and my girls anniversary and she’s gotten me pretty toasty and I’m sure I’ll regret this post in the morning in some way or another.
    Ahh the impulsive postings of the web. Good Times.
    Hey Brett, My XBox live handle is the same as my ID here. Hit me up and let’s shoot some rounds.

  7. Cadavra says:

    HEARTBREAK was advertising itself as “an R-rated comedy for adults.” Overlooking the absurdity of this, I suppose it’s possible it could’ve had some small part in keeping away older teens.

  8. LYT says:

    I’m probably preaching to those who will never be converted…but the first three Saw movies actually get progressively better. Never intended as a coherent trilogy, the way all three come together in the last installment was skillfully done, and Tobin Bell’s performance as John “Jigsaw” Kramer is consistently more deft than Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal across three movies.
    Like ’em or hate ’em, dissing Bell’s performance in them would be just silly.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    No comment on Bell, but I felt that the three Saw movies got progressively worse.
    But I hate to be the voice of the majority, so I’m done.

  10. IOIOIOI says:

    THX; I am not hating on Halo fans or Halo players. I am simply hating on media-hacks that continue to propagate a myth in terms of Halo earning 170 million bucks in it’s first week. Again… it’s not a movie… and it in no way compares to a film… but hacks are using Halo as a way to slag film. Which ticks me off to no end. It also demonstrates how utterly daft these people are in terms of their knowledge about gaming sales. Of course, when GTAIV sells more in a shorter period of time — on both 36KABLAMOS and PS3 — I am sure the media-hacks will hype a series that has consistently out sold HALO and meant more to more gamers. This is not about HALO as much as it’s about the perception that HALO and the 360s are in everyone’s home.

  11. christian says:

    Though I could qualify as a geek (having worked in the video game biz) I don’t trust their ideas of quality anymore than anybody. Saying “I played HALO 3 because there was no great film opening like 300” doesn’t give one hope.

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