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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 9

I hate to get into the middle of some happy hype, but

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27 Responses to “Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 9”

  1. marychan says:

    I don’t think “The Golden Compass” can attract many family audience in US, since The Catholic League is calling for a boycott of this movie.
    But yes, this movie is doing well overseas, so it probably won’t be the biggest bomb of 2007.

  2. Citizen R says:

    Actually I said in the other thread that I thought it could perform like Lemony Snicket domestically, but that it would doubtless be stronger than Snicket internationally. However, the domestic shortfall could be severe enough that the stronger foreign grosses aren’t enough to give the film a sufficient worldwide tally for the series to continue.

    As stated, Snicket did four times opening, and Narnia did 4.4 times opening. Five times opening is the most I can see The Golden Compass making, and that could be a stretch. If it’s lucky it’ll make $ 130 million, but I think the likeliest range is $ 110-115 million.

    International will likely account for 65-70% of worlwide. So it could come out with $ 385 million or so.

  3. Blackcloud says:

    I doubt the Catholic League has much sway with the non-Catholic families in the US. Or the Catholic ones, for that matter.

  4. martin says:

    I’m sorry Dave, but $26 million for this movie is weak. And you’re lying to yourself, and us, by stating otherwise. Haven’t heard much from you about how Beowulf is underperforming either. But you were all over Superman Returns doing poorly, when per-budget it had similar or even better returns. Earlier you stated that $500 mill WW would be a disappointment for Compass. Clearly it is headed for, at the least, “disappointment”. I guess you too can pick and choose your winners and losers, regardless of the “truth”.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, David, I prefer the AP headline:
    ‘Compass’ opens to modest $26.1 million
    Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when the word “modest” would be used to describe “26.1 million”?

  6. Citizen R says:

    In a time (to quote trailer guy) when a film can cost $ 200-250 million, a $ 26 million opening is so modest it’s positively blushing.

  7. movieman says:

    Those are some sensational figures for “Juno.”
    Will it be able to match (or surpass) “Little Miss Sunshine”‘s numbers when it eventually widens? I sure hope so. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a better film than “LMS,” even if it doesn’t get the Best Picture nomination it deserves.

  8. Nicol D says:

    “Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when the word “modest” would be used to describe “26.1 million”? ”
    No, but then again, I never thought I would see the day when a film of such mediocre quality as The Golden Compass, could cost a quarter of a billion dollars to produce. Even if the costs are only 200 million as opposed to the 250 CHUD reported, there is still the widely quoted almost 50 million on P & R.
    This film will not hit 100 mill domestic. I have seen it and have talked to a few that have seen it. It is a mediocre film. Not awful, not good…mediocre. And I am a – huge – Nicole Kidman fan. She’s why I went. I have defended her in many films…I even loved her as Diane Arbus in Fur.
    I also must say there is no way this thing hits 500 million including foreign and domestic. It just doesn’t have the name value or the quality to back it up. Not with I Am Legend around the corner.
    Many things worked to go against The Golden Compass…a property that was not well known beyond fanboy circles; questionable subject matter for a family film released at the holiday season; a budget that was far too high given the detractors; stars that are not box-office draws for this material; and stars that are barely in the film. Nicole looks gorgeous in it…but is not in the whole film.
    But what turfed it most was the uninspired direction by Chris Weitz whose About A Boy is one of my favourite films of the past decade.
    I read The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass a few years ago and the problems are two-fold. First off, they are not ‘children’s’ books. They are very dark, nihilistic adult fantasy. These are not Harry Potter or Narnia. There is a market for that however.
    This is the kind of series that should have been aimed at the same crowd that likes Sin City, Hellboy and V for Vendetta. Budget it under 100 million with an inventive director, keep the content intact and you have a respectable hit. Del Toro could have aced this material. Any controversy won’t hurt you because that demographic does not care about such things.
    But to green light a quarter of a billion dollar first part to a franchise whose ultimate main plot is the killing of the Christian God and to aim the franchise at little kids and families during the holiday season is flat out sub-moronic and insane. Forget personal views…this is capitalism for dummies. In corporations your goal is to expand your market, not decrease it. Who runs Time Warner and New Line…Raymond Babbitt!!??
    That has got to be one of the stupidest decisions ever made in Hollywood history. When I read about it on Dark Horizons 2 years ago I thought they were nuts going for the family market.
    If this is Robert Shaye’s doing then his job – should – be on the line. The business decisions made on The Golden Compass were incompetant. They show such a lack of knowledge of the material, who it appeals to and how to budget it, that it can only mean heads should roll. If I were a Time Warner share-holder…I would be pissed.
    Given the idiocy obviously at play in the studio I suspect the sequels will be greenlit first thing Monday morning with a budget of half a billion dollars and Dakota Fanning recast as Lyra with Rosie O’Donell as Miss Coulter. The powers that be at New Line probably think that is exactly what the people want to see at Easter ’09.

  9. Sunday Silence says:

    Well said Nicol. I think Shaye and his minions saw this as their “Narnia” or their “Rings” but forgot about all the risk involved in mounting those franchises and just assumed the inevitability of a similar end success.

  10. IOIOIOI says:

    Did anyone else know that the box office is ailing? According to Matt “I live in Miami for the beaches. Yeah… the beaches” Drudge it is. Go figure?

  11. Cadavra says:

    Religious boycotts never work–remember when the Southern Baptists called for one for FINDING NEMO? In fact, they often backfire, turning arthouse fare like HAIL, MARY! and PRIEST into modest hits. Whatta buncha joiks!
    I wouldn’t write off COMPASS too quickly. Family films don’t fare well prior to the holidays, and the only upcoming competition will be ALVIN (which looks dreadful) and WATER HORSE (which is good, but the WW2/Europe setting might hurt).

  12. MattM says:

    “Water Horse” looks like a tremendous bomb in the making–I’ve seen almost no publicity for it outside of the pre-show brief “making of” that was in rotation at AMC in NYC last month, which made it look pretty terrible. And the “Alvin” trailer got BIG laughs when I saw it before “Enchanted.”

  13. Citizen R says:

    Religious boycotts usually don’t work, but The Golden Compass is an unusual situation. Religious boycotts in the past have tended to fall into one of two categories:

    1. Attempted boycotts by some fundamentalist organizations perceiving anti-Christian, or even Satanic, influences in films that most people, including most Christians, see as innocuous entertainment (such as Harry Potter).

    2. Groups like the Catholic League targeting films designed as entertainment primarily for adults (such as The Da Vinci Code) which are seen to be anti-Catholic.

    Neither type of boycott has proven effective in the past. But with The Golden Compass you have a family film released at Christmas, and seeking to entice little kids to see it, which is based on a series of books that actually are an atheist answer to the Narnia series and which present an anti-religion, anti-Christian, anti-God allegory.

    The film tones that allegory down quite a bit, but you still have a lot of very blunt quotes from Philip Pullman in past interviews where he discusses the books and his intent in writing them (although New Line obviously got him to change his tune in talking about the books during the film’s marketing campaign).

    So where in the past most parents will (rightly) think that the “Harry Potter is Satanic” stuff is garbage and take their kids to see it, and most adults will blithely ignore calls to boycott a Tom Hanks thriller, a lot of parents, at least in the heavily Christian US, might have pause at a children’s film based on a book series which culminates in the allegory of a little girl killing God (or the idea of God, metaphorically speaking, since the whole point Pullman is getting at is that there is no God) thereby bringing an end to religion.

    This is one time where I think the religious controversy may well dampen a film’s box office. I don’t know to what extent that’s a factor, since there are certainly others (mixed reviews, mixed word of mouth, teenage boys and the geek audience maybe not turning out in the usual numbers because a little girl is the protagonist, etc), but I do think it’s playing some part.

  14. brack says:

    This whole boycott nonsense is hilarious. Talk about desperate people.

  15. ployp says:

    “Religious boycotts never work–remember when the Southern Baptists called for one for FINDING NEMO?”
    What’s anti-Christian about Finding Nemo?
    I know Special Effects can cost a fortune these days, but how in the world did they spend $200+ millions in the Golden Compass? The bears? The daemons? What else was there?
    As for the cast, Kidman could cost $10 millions. I don’t know what Green gets, or Craig.

  16. ployp says:

    I just checked IMDb and it says that The Subtle Knife is set for a 2009 release. ?!?

  17. MattM says:

    Pretty much every exterior shot in “Golden Compass” has substantial CGI–the airships, the Magisterium palace, probably most of the snow/ice, the building where the final act takes place? All CGI. Two major CGI characters (Lyra’s daemon and the lead ice bear), and I’m almost certain no part of the Ice Bears were done with practical effects.
    Also, the 200M includes the false starts on the picture in the past (I’m sure Tom Stoppard got nicely paid for his draft script) and the approx. 20 minutes of substantially finished (and apparently CGI heavy) footage that was the original ending.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    And don’t forget the big bucks that went to Sam Elliott — who, frankly, should be played up MUCH more in the ads.

  19. MattM says:

    Trying to sell the movie on any of the star faces (even calling Elliott a “star”) is tough, because none of them are in the movie for more than about 20-25 minutes. Did Eva Green have more than 10 distinct lines in the film? I don’t think so, but wasn’t counting.

  20. Citizen R says:

    ployp, IMDB users assign a year of release to just about every film in development, every film that’s being talked about as a possible release. Look up Martin Scorsese, for example, and you’ll see that they have Silence and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt as 2008 releases, even though it’s clear that neither film will be released next year given Scorsese’s schedule.

  21. ployp says:

    “the approx. 20 minutes of substantially finished (and apparently CGI heavy) footage that was the original ending.”
    What was the original ending? I’m just curious. Is it like the one in the book?

  22. MattM says:

    I’ve not read the books, but by all accounts, the “Book ending” was filmed and tossed as being not heroic enough. Basically, they just lopped it off.

  23. Cadavra says:

    “What’s anti-Christian about Finding Nemo?”
    Nothing (unless you consider talking fish blasphemous). The boycott was organized because one of the voices was Ellen “DeGenerate,” who, being a filthy, Satanic dyke, had no business being in a Disney cartoon, where she could conceivably convert millions of young girls into the perverted, disgusting world of lesbianism.
    And no, I’m not kidding.

  24. Cadavra says:

    “What’s anti-Christian about Finding Nemo?”
    Nothing (unless you consider talking fish blasphemous). The boycott was organized because one of the voices was Ellen “DeGenerate,” who, being a filthy, Satanic dyke, had no business being in a Disney cartoon, where she could conceivably convert millions of young girls into the perverted, disgusting world of lesbianism.
    And no, I’m not kidding.

  25. Cadavra says:

    Apologies for the double post. TypePad blows.

  26. Rufus Wainwright sung a song on the Meet the Robinsons soundtrack, and there wasn’t a peep about that.

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