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David Poland

By David Poland

How Does The Math Work?

I’m not even saying it’s wrong in principle… but Variety reports:
“Among studio specialty arms, total box office receipts for 2007 were down 4% from 2006, according to Rentrak”
“The top 15 specialty unit and indie distribs — including MGM and the Weinstein Co. — posted domestic box office receipts of $1.03 billion, down slightly from the $1.04 billion collected in 2006.”
Isn’t the difference between 1.04 billion and $1.03 billion $10 million… or less than 1%?
According to Variety, here are the studio Dependents’ results:
Focus down $53.8 million
Searchlight down $25.5 million
Sony Classics down $21.9 million
WIP down $11.8 million
4 Dependents Down $113 million
Miramax up $79.2 million
Vantage up $14 million
Picturehouse up $34.3 million
3 Dependents Up $127.5 million
So where is the overall downturn? Must be the true indies, right?
Well, films released by Lionsgate in 2007 did $368,137,389… and 2006 releases grossed just $282,887,640… up $83.2 million. And though the math in Variety’s report comes from film grosses in the year and not holding over into the next year, Lionsgate happens to have not released a film after October in either year… so all of their films were closed for that year before year end.
This is not true of MGM , which is down this year ($55.6 million) from last year’s $102.9 million, about $20 million of which came from Rocky Balboa in 2007. So actually, by Variety’s count, the down is only about $37 million.
And way up, which for some reason goes 100% unmentioned by Variety’s story, is The Weinstein Co, releasing though MGM, with $111.7m in 2006 and $249.3m in 2007. TWC on its own is about even. And Dimension is down about $85.5 million (from $111m to 2007’s $25.5m). Overall, that suggest The Weinsteins are up about $50 million this year. (This conversation is not about profitability, which is a completely different issue for many of these companies.)
So… I’m still up about $110 million by my count… maybe adjusting for holdovers by, what, $20 million max?
I have to be missing something profound, right?

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One Response to “How Does The Math Work?”

  1. a1amoeba says:

    Since when did Hollywood accounting make sense – or add up???

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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