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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates by Klady – Jan 6

Box office seems rather boring lately, but…
Juno is the story of the season, becoming the Girl Power Apatow commercial flick of the season. Audiences love Ms. Page and the words of Ms. Cody and the positive message, which I don’t think is abortion-political so much as overcoming a tough situation by taking control with positive energy and not fear and loathing.
Three $200 million December movies is a first. NT2 will pass NT by Tuesday. I Am Legend has done great, but National Treasure coming in so quick and hard probably cost it $50 million or more domestically.
The slow roll of There Will Be Blood is going very well… not quite Brokeback Mountain rollout numbers, but quite good nonetheless.

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49 Responses to “Sunday Estimates by Klady – Jan 6”

  1. eugenen says:

    13.6 million! Fuck me! MGM should have held “The Mist” until Jan 3rd.

  2. IOIOIOI says:

    Freakin hell. Folks decided to go out to the movies this weekend. Also… nothing could have helped the MIST except an ending that was not ponderous man. Freakin ponderous.

  3. L.B. says:

    Which ending? One was brilliant and the other played like a cheap gimmick.

  4. Bennett says:

    Saw Walk Hard on Friday night….three people in the audience….not sure if they were paid attendance or theater hoppers….did see two women come in half way through stayed for 10 minutes and left….regardless…what a dissapointment…Good first half and dull second half…There were scenes in the trailer not in the movie and they missed many opportunities to knock the eighties…… a rare miss for the Apatow gang.

  5. Nicol D says:

    I tried to see TWBB at two screenings today and both were sold out. I have no idea what the legs on this will be in wide release but there is a demand for the film. I am actually looking forward to it more than many I have seen in a while.
    Based on what I have heard, seen and read though, I think Daniel Plainview will become the Gordon Gekko of the new millenium. Even if one sees the film as a critique of capitalism and the oil industry, he is so entertaining and quotable that the film will be seen as a celebration of him rather than an indictment.

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I think after you see the movie you’ll temper your ‘celebration’ idea. He’s a great character, his performance is magnificent, but who he is and what he does are not really comparable in a pop-culture way as Gordon Gekko. It’s a terrific movie though and I can’t wait to see it a second time.

  7. Nicol D says:

    No Jeff, I did not say the film – does – celebrate him…but that that will be the film’s legacy whether it is intended that way or not.
    I mean even the most die hard socialist must love what he does at the end.

  8. L.B. says:

    Gekko was only a hero to the people who shared his on-screen values in real-life. There’s no accounting for that. I’m sure HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is an inspirational tale to a small percentage of the population. But I disagree that he was celebrated in the larger culture. (Okay, in a way he is since the same types still run things- and a few of them are running for President!) But not popularly so.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    So P.S. I Love You likely will outgross AVP-R?

  10. Aris P says:

    Can someone tell me who the actor was, who was replaced on TWBB? I assume it was for the Paul Dano character. Thanks.

  11. Tofu says:

    Biggest opening weekend of the year ever, beating out 2004 by 3+ million.
    The abortion clinic scene in Juno was fuckin’ clown shoes.

  12. doug r says:

    Saw AVP-R today with my wife. It didn’t suck as much as I thought it would. Some thinking went in to the physics and logistics. Pretty good pacing, too. Of course, when I see the BC backgrounds, I tend to give a picture more of a break….

  13. I saw TWBB Friday in San Francisco at the new mall theater and it was PACKED OUT. And we’re talking like, a lame ass, 6 story mall packed to the gills with trendy shoppers. The slow roll is going to help build a mighty buzz I think.
    And DDL is truly a site to behold in the film, but people who like to attach to characters (like Gekko or Scarface) won’t find alot to latch onto.
    And Nicol-please lose this preconceived notion that the film is about the perils and evils of the oil industry and capitalism. It’s really, really not. Maybe if FOX news tells you that, you’ll listen…or you can listento someone who’s seen it. I think it’s actually a fairly conservative message…

  14. I’m surprised something like The Great Debaters will eventually get to $35mil. Is this a win or a loss for the vile Weinstein brothers.
    Nice to see Atonement at over $20mil and it’s still playing in under 600 cinemas. On the off chance that anyone is interested, the film is going gangbusters and made the same amount per theatre as No Country for Old Men on triple the screens. An NCfOM‘s numbers were very impressive.
    Although Death at a Funeral is the highest grossing film in our top 20 (it’s been in the top 20 for 4 months) so…

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I’m confused. Have you seen it or not? Did you read the screenplay somewhere? I don’t see how else you could be such an expert about what the film says and how it will be perceived years from now.

  16. Also, how is The Bucket List getting such impressive limited numbers? Are people just itching to see Nicholson and Freeman be treacly?

  17. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, let me elaborate a little: Nicol, the thing that Gordon Gekko and Tony Montana have in common, that Daniel Plainview doesn’t have, are lavish lifestyles. Wall Street and Scarface spend a lot of time showing their characters surrounded by women, buying tigers, living in huge mansions etc. Daniel Plainview spends his free time picking fights with rivals in small dusty towns and passing out drunk.

  18. movielocke says:

    “Daniel Plainview spends his free time picking fights with rivals in small dusty towns and passing out drunk.”
    I love him already.
    instead of seeing TWBB at a matinee at the Grove today I stayed home and watched a double feature of Ace in the Hole and Lady from Shanghai (both have been on my tivo since august) and the first hour of Since You Went Away. What phenomenal dialogue in all three, and incredible cinematography and performances to boot. I loved Orson Welles’ Irish brogue. Can anyone imagine the Quiet man with Welles instead of Wayne? (it’s one of my favorite Wayne performances, but that’d have been an interesting film with a non fat welles, Has there ever been a better fistfight (not martial arts) in film than the one that closes the Quiet Man?)

  19. Aladdin Sane says:

    Doug, I hope you didn’t give Juno a break just because they filmed at what appears to be the track at Deer Lake Park Secondary…

  20. Nicol D says:

    “And Nicol-please lose this preconceived notion that the film is about the perils and evils of the oil industry and capitalism.”
    I have never said it definitively was or was not about it. But many people – are – saying it is. Many people on the left. I mean…do you read much? Scan rotten-tomatoes, read an alternative weekly…sheesh…The alternative left-wing weekly in my city just gave it 5 stars for being one of the most spot on crtiicisms of the evils of capitalism and big oil ever made. They didn’t even review the quality of the film. Just the politics. Similarly the right wing film website Libertas gave it a positive review and said it was not.
    Perhaps you should do a bit of reading before you jump to pre-conceived notions of who believes what. Also, I don’t watch Fox News. Perhaps you should quit getting your news from The Daily KOS.
    I have not seen the film. I look forward to it, but it was sold out today. But we have been here before…One does not need to see a film to know what the content and approach is. That is exactly why I – do – want to see it. Because I am fairly convinced it will be something I’ll like. I don’t know how you come by the information you do about a film but I don’t just rely on one or two reviews before I see a flick. By the time I plunk down my coins I know exactly what I am going to think about it and I am rarely surprised.
    Also, if you do not think Plainview at least has the potential to become an heroic icon like Gekko, you are not reading the boards I am reading. People on IMDB and elsewhere are already reciting his top lines.
    Just because a film-maker intends his creation to be a monster does not mean it cannot take on another life of its owm. Gekko and Scarface are only two examples and Scarface’s life is pretty disgusting. Howabout Hannibal Lecter? He became a romantic hero!
    When Cameron made the Terminator he said he wanted to create a terrifying character of pure malevolence. Howabout Joe Pesci in Goodfellas? That first time I saw that film, he terrified me. By Christmas 1990 he was the fun hero of SNL skits. I am not saying that is good or bad, but it is how culture works sometimes whether we like it or not.

  21. Chicago48 says:

    “So P.S. I Love You likely will outgross AVP-R?”
    P.S. wasn’t that bad a movie. It had a heart and Kathy Bates. The actors really pour their hearts into it and it’s definitely a chic flic, that’s who is going to this movie. Next up: 27 Dresses!
    Glad to see IAL has long long legs. As for Nic Cage — can somebody explain him to me? One of the worse actors around who apparently has good management. Is it possible the Natl Treasures will end up being his Pirates? or Indy Jones? God help us!

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I give you credit for being upfront and honest about your preference for pre-digesting movies as much as possible before you view them. Honestly, I’m not sure why you bother to see films at all. I explicitly try _not_ to know much about films if I can avoid it outside of trailers and places like this because I value that clean experience unburdened by expectations, and _then_ I read review after review.
    Of course the left-leaning critics are going to go on about the film’s anti-capitalist stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s a full and complete representation of what the movie is really about.
    Back to the main point, just because movie geeks are quoting Daniel Plainview’s dialogue doesn’t mean that he’s going to become a pop-culture icon any more than Bill the Butcher did. The movie is too small and indie for that to happen in a broad, mass-audience way. If, in ten years, you find guys fresh out of college dressing like Plainview or him being celebrated in video games, music, and other movies, then I’ll concede the point. And I don’t know where you shop for Valentine’s Day, but where I come from, Hannibal Lecter is a Halloween character, regardless of his charisma.

  23. Hopscotch says:

    the staying power of PS I love you and Charlie Wilson’s War has been pretty surprising. I think that story would get more ink had Juno not sky-rocketed the way it did.
    Walk Hard’s free-fall has also been surprising. Among my friends (all HUGE Apatow fans) we all couldn’t wait to see it, then we all decided to skip it. Strange.

  24. Nicol D says:

    “If, in ten years, you find guys fresh out of college dressing like Plainview or him being celebrated in video games, music, and other movies, then I’ll concede the point.”
    I never said he – would – become an icon or hero…just that he – could – be. I also think many of the people seeing him are finding him very ‘cool’ in that love to hate him JR Ewing way. The geeks quoting him isn’t the final word, but it is a start; and that’ s the point.
    As for Lecter, both Lambs and Hannibal were released for Valentine’s Day and both definitely made use of the romantic subtex between Clarice and Hannibal in the advertising. The character certainly was romanticized and became something much more than originaly intended. I don’t know how you can say otherwise.
    As for my viewing habits, yes I need to know pretty much everything there is to know about a film before I see it. For a whole host of reasons; I like to be up on trends, what is being made and why and how things are presented. On a more personal level, films cost too much money and time nowadays to spend going in cold.
    Nevertheless, even when you read a lot, it is hard to be surprised. Films do not exist in a vacuum nor do the careers and statements of the people who make them. I do not need to see a Paul Haggis film to know what statement he will be selling me.
    Can’t you just look at a commercial or trailer sometimes and know exactly what you are getting? When Steven King said the end to The Mist was shocking and for no one to reveal it, did that not itself tell you exactly what it was? For me it was a huge red light that told me exactly what it was. I can’t believe it wasn’t also for you.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    That would be because I didn’t read anything by Stephen King prior to going to see The Mist, because my priority was the movie-going experience and letting the film do its work unencumbered by outside influences.
    It kind of reminds me of that Seinfeld where George asks Jerry “What do _you_ read in the bathroom?” and Jerry says “I don’t.”
    I wouldn’t deny that Hannibal Lecter has a romantic aura about him as part of his charm, and that was the subtext of Hannibal, but that’s not the same thing as a popular, mass-audience phenomenon. If people started giving out boxes of chocolates in the shapes of body parts with his face on it, maybe.
    This is to say that I see your basic point, I just think you’re overstating it.

  26. Nicol D says:

    Hmmmm, flip sides of the same coin. I see your point, but I think you are vastly understating it. No worries.

  27. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Actuals are up: “Juno” beat “I Am Legend” for #2 in US/Canada. Fox will expand “Juno” to ~2,000 theaters next week and delay “27 Dresses” to 1/18.
    “There Will Be Blood” is in the national top 20 with the highest per-theater average of all releases this week. Expect it to stay arthouse/megaplex given the upcoming product jam.

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    Gosh, Chuck — Juno managed this wondrous feat with, as you yourself observed, name-checking in ads. Does this phenomenon provide irrefutable proof that you are so full of crap that your eyes are brown?

  29. martin says:

    Joe, you’re wasting your breath. Chucky doesn’t lower himself to discussions with namecheckers such as yourself.

  30. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, maybe I could start name-checking myself.
    “This review is by Joe Leydon, the only critic in North America who thought The Adventures of Pluto Nash was funny…”
    Well, no, come to think of it, that would be a lousy idea, never mind.

  31. Jeebus…welcome to Nicol v.2008, same as Nicol v.2007.
    I don’t read other peoples interpretations of a film willy nilly, just to see what the overall impressions are. Especially before a film. I don’t care what “most” people think and if “most” people are lauding TWBB for it’s depiction and lambasting of capitalism and the oil industry, then “most” people are taking the easy way out and, as I figured, “most” people are dumb.

  32. L.B. says:

    You thought Pluto Nash was funny, Joe? This really turned into the thread for disconcerting confessions, now didn’t it?
    I find it very hard to believe that you have never been taken by surprise by a film you’ve paid to see, Nicol. If it is true, it’s sad. Not saying that as an insult. It just seems like you’re going out of your way to rob yourself of one important part of the movie-going (or any) experience. I don’t understand the impulse to dampen any surprise a film might hold for you by making sure it has no chance to do so. Movies are pricey, but I’ve found ways to make considered choices without feeling like I’ve pissed away my money. (That happens, too, but even that is part of the flavor of things.)
    I don’t know. Not picking a fight. I read that and it really just depressed me. Sorry.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    L.B.: I can’t dodge the Pluto Nash thing because, no kidding, I’m the only critic blurbed on the DVD package. The funny thing is, I don’t think any reasonable person could describe my original review (in the San Francisco Examiner) as a rave. But I saw the movie after reading/hearing so many horrid things about it beforehand, and I guess I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t make my eyes bleed. (Maybe this is an argument to support your notion that people should let themsleves be surprised by a movie, eh?) In any event, yeah, I thought a few scenes were quite funny, and said so. And here’s the really strange part: I actually received a few e-mails from people THANKING me for the review, because they had felt all alone in liking it. Go figure.

  34. Nicol D says:

    “Jeebus…welcome to Nicol v.2008, same as Nicol v.2007.”
    Yes, because you are so bubbly, effervescent and new!
    The problem you have with me Pet is that you never respond to what I wrote. You respond to the subtext of what you want me to have written. I have no control over that.
    “I find it very hard to believe that you have never been taken by surprise by a film you’ve paid to see, Nicol.”
    Of course I have been surprised, but not in a long while. At least 10 years. (perhaps there are exceptions) I actually do not think you are trying to pick a fight, as most people have a hard time understanding my way of watching films. Stories do not exist in a vacuum and once you understand the ideological paradigm of modern Hollywood, most stories just become predictable. I have written about this before.
    There are always exceptions. I want to be surprised. It is just a hard thing to do.
    I saw Whoopee Goldberg in an interview on AMC/TCM (I don’t remember which) and she was saying how Hollywood’s vocal politics has nothing to do with thier work.
    That is wrong. It makes films predictable. Perhaps I just look to be surprised by different things in a Hollywood movie than you. Now I do think that is starting to change. I was genuinely suprised by the religious content in I Am Legend, so perhaps that is the current exception.
    But by and large, many of us find the current state of Hollywood rather predictable. What surpises are to be found in films like Into The Wild, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Bucket List, Sweeney Todd or The Great Debaters?
    And I liked Sweeney and Debaters…but they did not surprise me one bit.
    No Country is another film I liked…surprised, not really. The Coen Bros always do something unconventional so I prep myself for that right from the beginning. I am not a 13 year old discovering film for the first time. Quite frankly, I do not understand the ‘non-spoiler’ types.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    “Stories do not exist in a vacuum and once you understand the ideological paradigm of modern Hollywood, most stories just become predictable.”
    Do you know how much you sound like someone who writes for a left-wing alternative weekly? Not trying to pick a fight, just pointing it out.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Nicol: This may sound like a jokey question, but I am absolutely serious: How did you respond to the religious elements in Black Snake Moan?

  37. L.B. says:

    Well, Nicol, I honestly wasn’t trying to pick a fight, just expressing how I honestly felt. Which wasn’t combative as much as genuinely disspirited.
    So, I’ll just take for granted that we’ll agree on very little. But I’d appreciate not assigning motive when you don’t know for a fact what that motive was. I take that personally.

  38. Nicol D says:

    Trust me…I am aware of that and the irony is not lost on me. Ironically enough…I recently applied to write for one. Good observation, though.
    Black Snake Moan was one of my favourite films of the year. I think it was misunderstood by many. That is where I think that average conservative movie goer has to lighten up. Just because something has sex or is rated R does not mean it can’t speak to you. I also thought Ricci was extremely sexy in it. I don’t see that as a contradiction. I am a student of cinema first.
    I know you were not picking a fight. I thought you were being sincere and I gave you a sincere answer with no mocking or ironic tone. Remember, please do not ascribe alterior motives to me also. I just tried to give you a sincere answer. That’s part of the problem with the internet. You can’t read ‘tone’ so we end up reading based on what ‘type’ we think the person is. Best.

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    Nicol: I agree with you completely on Black Snake Moan. Seriously. Indeed, I found it had more compelling things to say about the possibility of redemption than many movies aimed specifically at the Christian market. And, frankly, I am disappointed that Ricci has been almost totally overlooked by year-end award-givers.

  40. Nicol D says:

    I agree Joe,
    BSM seems to have been misunderstood by many people. Jackson and Ricci gave powerful performances and felt very real to me. Hell…I even thought Justin Timberlake did well. It was genuinely visual, cinematic and audacious. I also thought the seen where Jackson plugs in his elecric guitar and talks of the Black Snake Moan was one of the best I had seen in cinema all year.
    And the film did not lay out its message of redemption or spirituality in a B&W or simple way. It made it hard and ends on a note that much work will have to be done if the couple is to have a chance. Too many Christians just want films that make Christianity look like a happy pill. That is certainly not where I am coming from. I would – love – to have more R rated Christian films…what that would mean though I have no idea.

  41. L.B. says:

    I apologize, Nicol. I made that key error of reading too fast and skipping over the “not” in your sentence, so I thought you specifically said what my intentions were. Sorry. That was sloppy and it drives me crazy when people do it to me, so I eat all of that crow.
    I still feel the way I did over the original point.
    BUT I couldn’t agree more with the last paragrapgh of your last post. I’d like to see that, too. In fact…Well, I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll save it as a surprise for later.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    Again, I totally agree. (Jeez, this is getting almost scary.) Especially about the ambiguity of the ending. In far too many Christian-themed movies, all you have to do is accept Jesus, and He will make everything in life easy for you. (Hell, if you’re a football coach, you’ll suddenly win every game.) Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
    And, yes, Black Snake Moan has one of the sexiest scenes in any movie of 2007, when a hot-and-bothered Ricci just opens the door, grabs that boy and just yanks him inside the house… Wowsa!

  43. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW — and I am not trying to be funny here — but couldn’t you make the argument that Schindler’s List is an R-rated Christian film?

  44. jeffmcm says:

    Why does redemption automatically have to have a religious label attached to it? Or, why couldn’t it be an R-rated Jewish film?

  45. Joe Leydon says:

    Notice how some assholes can completely choke off an intelligent discussion? Because no one else on this blog want to comment after certain assholes comment? Is the word “contempt” perhaps applicable here?

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Joe, you seem to be the one to have ended the intelligent part of the discussion with your typical name-calling and childish behavior.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and Joe, regarding my comment from yesterday, I think you know the old saying, “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.”

  48. jeffmcm says:

    I’ll take that as a sign there are no hard feelings. There was a time, Joe, when I liked you and hope to do so again in the future.

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