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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Hell


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11 Responses to “Box Office Hell”

  1. Geoff says:

    Fantasy Moguls is projecting that I, Zombie…er…..I Am Legend did over $28 million on Friday, wow!
    Ok, Dave, can you and everybody NOW admit that Will Smith is the biggest star out there? This guy is going to deliver a $65 million plus opening in the middle of december for a downbeat horror drama – not a family comedy, not a fantasy epic, in other words NOT the type of genre that opens big at this time of year.
    Even if you wanted to characterize it as an “action film,” what’s the biggest opening for a pure action film of December? You might want to count King Kong, but if you don’t, you we are talking numbers less than half what this film will do. The guy is genre-proof (no romantic comedy in recent years has even come close to Hitch’s grosses) and now season-proof – he’s bigger than Cruise, Cage, Sandler, and all of the rest of them. Hancock, next summer, will be a real test, sure, considering I hear it’s very against-type, BUT if any one can pull off the dreaded superhero-satire movie (littered with Mystery Men, Super Ex Girlfriend, etc.), he can. Consider myself truly impressed and I do want to see this.
    Alvin & the Chipmunks grossed over $13 million, almost as big a surprise – it will probably do over $40 million. Was this thing even marketed? Did Jason Lee help it out? Very impressive and it cost a fraction of what Bee Movie, without all of the omnipresent marketing.
    The Golden Compass is tanking and will be lucky to break $100 million, just like Beowolf – seems to me that the fantasy genre has officially reached saturation and the public is sending that message.
    Good news on the quality front: No Country for Old Men is still in the top five and will likely crack $50 million, probably the Coen Brother’s biggest hit. The awards and acclaim has certainly made the difference, but I gotta say that Miramax has done a very effective job of marketing this as an action/thriller and it seems to be pulling in the geek crowd, as well. No doubt it’s going to get a Best Picture nod, now, and after The Departed, last year, I would not rule it out to win.

  2. Goulet says:

    Geoff writes: “Ok, Dave, can you and everybody NOW admit that Will Smith is the biggest star out there?”
    Dude, Dave’s been saying just that for years! Every time the subject of the biggest stars comes up, he always puts Will on top. I AM LEGEND ain’t all that, especially if a) you’ve read the brilliant Matheson book, and b) you’re not into Mummy/Hulk style CGI monsters. But Smith is bloody brilliant in it, almost as compelling in this mostly solo perf as Tom Hanks was in CAST AWAY.

  3. Goulet says:

    Will Smith is #1 every year. I rest my case!

  4. movieman says:

    That’s an amazing opening for “IAL.” Yes, Will Smith is indeed a huge movie star.
    And a $13.3 Friday for “Alvin” is maybe even more impressive when you consider that kiddies (its largest demo) were still in school. That thing is going to rule at multiplex matinees during the upcoming Xmas break, particularly since its only competition is “The Water Horse” which everyone knows (even Sony I’m guessing considering their stealth marketing campaign) is going to tank.
    Nice opening for “Kite Runner” (that one has major sleeper potential and should make a lot more $ for Paramount’s arthouse division than either “Into the Wild” or “There Will Be Blood”); decent expansion for “Atonement;” catastrophic drop for “Compass.”
    I guess the dismal opening for “Perfect Holiday” proves that the market can sustain only one African-American Xmas movie in the same year.
    Yes, Miramax has done a remarkable job with “NCFOM.” I’m pleased to see that it’s destined to become the Coens’ top grosser to date.
    Next question: just how big a flop is “Charlie Wilson’s War” going to be for Universal? Is “P.S. I Love You” (which is utterly dreadful btw) going to surprise everyone and be the chick flick sleeper of the season? Can “Nat’l Treasure 2” match (or beat)
    “IAL”‘s opening day figure?

  5. Citizen R says:

    IAL and Alvin will open way above the Boxoffice Hell predictions, while TGC will have a second weekend a few million below predictions. TGC looks to be on track to drop by about 60% in its second weekend, opening up the very real possibility that it could end up grossing less than $ 100 million domestic. On a day-to-day comparison (helpfully provided by BOM) it’s running slightly ahead of Eragon and slightly behind Bridge to Terabithia. The December frame should still help to elongate TGC’s legs, but if it makes it over $ 100 mil it’ll only do so by a small margin.

  6. Geoff says:

    Ok, Goulet, I stand somewhat corrected – this was not really a dig at Dave, but….
    Dave has continuously put the caveat on Smith, though, that he is not as big overseas as Pitt and Cruise. I am not so sure about that. I think, honestly, if you took the same movie and same campaign, that Lions for Lambs would have done more than double with Smith in the Cruise role – domestic and overseas.
    I just don’t think there should be any asterisks on Will Smith for anything – what he has done the past ten years is very impressive for box office – moreso than just about any one else since the end of the studio system – Eastwood, Reynolds, Schwarzeneggar, McQueen, Stallone, Murphy, Cruise, etc.
    The only one who really recently compares for being truly genre-proof is really Tom Hanks in his heyday.
    That said, I do think that National Treasure will clean up and be the biggest movie of the season. Opening the right kind of four-quadrant family enterainment about five days before Christmas, the past few years (Meet the Fockers, Night at the Museum) has just helped these movies clean up – it could easily break $150 million before New Year’s.

  7. David Poland says:

    You’re wrong about that, Geoff. In fact, Smith’s power overseas is what makes him so singular. Pitt is not as big at home as overseas, which is his weakness. And Cruise used to be The Smith… not anymore.
    Shar Tale and I, Robot were the proof… Hitch was a massive confirmation.
    National Treasure won’t be able to keep up with this opening number. I don’t think that IAL will be as leggy as some of you, but it will be into $200 million by the end of the holiday. I thought Nat Treasure 2 would win the holiday also… until this number. It’s barely a $200 million franchise… in part because it doesn’t play young the way Night at The Museum did and it won’t open as big as Fockers.

  8. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “P.S. I Love You” is a chick flick being promoted with Oscar-Whoring. “Charlie Wilson’s War” looks like another “Wag the Dog”, only in wide release from the getgo.
    With the Mitchell Report in the news let’s compare Hollywood and drugs:
    Franchises = Steroids
    Remakes = Greenies (amphetamines)
    Sequels = HGH (human growth hormone)
    Name-Checking = Crack
    Oscar-Whoring = Heroin

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Broken record city.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    Actually, let me point out how foolish that post was. Chucky, you are saying that ‘name-checking’ is illegal, addictive, and life-destroying for thousands of people. All that for the practice of (horrors!) selling movies by telling consumers which of their beloved stars are in them.
    That’s nothing other than ridiculous hyperbole and it could only come from someone with an axe to grind…but why? Where are you getting this? It does not make sense.

  11. Blackcloud says:

    Chucky’s like the hungbacked court jester who has only one shtick. It was amusing for a while, but that was two days three years ago. Time for a new jester. This one can go to the dungeon.

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