MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Pyrites of the Caribbean…

Fool’s Gold, a Popeel of a rom-com, ascended to the top of the weekend movie going charts with an estimated $22.1 million debut. The frame’s other national freshman, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, ranked second with $17.1 million in a session that was largely status quo for this time of year.

Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show spent a year looking for an ideal release date and based upon its $470,000 opening discovered none existed. Similar fates befell the Paris Hilton half correct The Hottie and the Nottie and the Japanese anime One Piece: Desert Princess. More encouraging were the limited bows of the black comic In Bruges and the uplifting Israeli comedyThe Band’s Visit and the Quebec launch of the local drama Borderline.

Weekend box office revenues were slightly shy of $110 million that translated into a 14% decline from the prior span. The figure was about 1% behind the 2007 tally led by openings of Norbit andHannibal Rising of $34.2 million and $13.1 million.

There was a decided absence of excitement surrounding the debuts of Fool’s Gold and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Reviews of the former delighted in pointing out similarities to recent adventure comedies and the work of the current pic’s performers while RJ was categorized as a kinder, gentler Martin Lawrence.

The second weekend of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert film continued strong despite a 66% box office decline and there was similar dynamism for U2 3D that’s been playing in large format locations and plans to move into RealD sites when Hannah moves out.

Oscar contenders were holding their own though it’s difficult to identify any that have caught fire with a wide swath of the audience. With preliminary positive WGA response to a strike resolution the show may go on but not with a lot of enthusiasm from viewers.
– Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates – February 8-10, 2008

Title Distributor Gross (averag % chang Theater Cume
Fool’s Gold WB 22.1 (7,060) 3125 22.1
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Uni 17.1 (7,180) 2386 17.1
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Concert BV 10.6 (15,470) -66% 687 53.5
The Eye Lions Gate 6.2 (2,530) -50% 2470 21.1
Juno Fox Searchlight 5.6 (2,400) -21% 2321 117.5
27 Dresses Fox 5.5 (1,930) -36% 2841 65.2
The Bucket List WB 5.3 (1,940) -21% 2753 75.1
There Will Be Blood Par Vantage 4.0 (2,450) -14% 1620 26.7
Rambo Lions Gate 3.9 (1,450) -45% 2717 36.3
Meet the Spartans Fox 3.9 (1,590) -47% 2446 33.7
Untraceable Sony 3.3 (1,550) -35% 2143 24.2
Cloverfield Par 2.6 (1,270) -47% 2030 75.9
No Country for Old Men Miramax 2.2 (1,820) -1% 1202 58.2
Atonement Focus 2.1 (1,790) -28% 1190 45.3
National Treasure: Book of Secrets BV 2.1 (1,690) -29% 1256 212.7
Over Her Dead Body New Line/TVA 1.8 (1,890) -56% 1977 6.8
Alvin and the Chipmunks Fox 1.7 (1,170) -39% 1465 209.8
Michael Clayton WB 1.6 (2,090) -9% 757 46.3
Strange Wilderness Par 1.3 (1,110) -55% 1211 5.4
U2 3D nWave .67 (10,980) -6% 61 3
Mad Money Overture .63 (690) -68% 912 19.8
I Am Legend WB .57 (1,310) -44% 435 254.1
First Sunday Sony .53 (960) -64% 553 37.5
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $105.30
% Change (Last Year) -1%
% Change (Last Week) -14%
Also debuting/expanding
Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Picturehouse .47 (490) 962 0.47
Diving Bell and the Butterfly Miramax .45 (2,130) 2% 213 4.4
In Bruges Focus .44 (15,750) 28 0.44
Persepolis Sony Classics .36 (2,900) 6% 125 2.3
Borderline TVA .23 (5,530) 42 0.23
The Band’s Visit Sony Classics 68,400 (9,770) 7 0.07
The Hottie & the Nottie Regent 24,800 (220) 111 0.02
Ugly Me Arcangelo 21,200 (850) 25 0.02
One Piece: Desert Princess Bigger Picture 5,300 (55) 97 0.01
Spiral Anchor Bay 3,100 (1,550) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share – To February 7, 2008

Distributor (titles) Gross* Market Share
Warner Bros. (10) 185.5 18.30%
Fox (6) 165.3 16.40%
Buena Vista (6) 135.7 13.40%
Paramount (4) 99.9 9.90%
Fox Searchlight (3) 87.2 8.60%
Sony (8) 85.4 8.40%
Lions Gate (4) 47.5 4.70%
Par Vantage (6) 42.4 4.20%
Universal (3) 39.5 3.90%
Focus (2) 31.9 3.20%
Overture (1) 19.1 1.90%
Miramax (2) 17.4 1.70%
MGM (5) 15.5 1.50%
New Line (2) 13.9 1.40%
Picturehouse (1) 5.7 0.60%
Other * (36) 19.1 1.90%
1011 100.00%
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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