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David Poland

By David Poland

20 Wks Of Summer Preview Week

Geeks and Girls have got to be drooling coming into the season. Not only is there an new Indiana Jones, but there is a great comic book hero coming along with some very good buzz, a new Batman from a hero director, a Star Wars that is supposed to look like a cartoon, and the return of two beloved geek colors, green and red. For women, Hollywood responded strongly to some female-driven hits in recent summers with no less than a half-dozen films aimed at them.
The big question mark of this summer is whether Sandler, Ferrell, Stiller, Carrell, Myers, and Pineapple Express is just too much boy comedy for one summer. It

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91 Responses to “20 Wks Of Summer Preview Week”

  1. Kristopher Tapley says:

    “Angelina Jolie-actioner-ripping-off-M&MS Wanted”
    Have you even read this comic series, David? It was in the ether long before M&MS. And it rocked.

  2. Kristopher Tapley says:

    And I think you’re drastically underestimating The Incredible Hulk. The script is pretty sweet, and if that translates to film, word-of-mouth alone will carry it far beyond your benchmark, I think.

  3. Hopscotch says:

    Prince Caspian is too high. I think it’ll do closer to $200M.
    One reason Narnia was so leggy was that it was a Christmas movie so it essentially was up against King Kong and the usualy Jan/Feb dreck. Caspian’s got much stiffer competition, but I do think it’ll do big business.
    The rest of DP’s top 10 predicitons are pretty close to my guesses. Wall-e could really shoot up there, but we’ll wait til the reviews arrive.
    Get Smart will do more business than $80M. I think that’ll be the breakout comedy hit of the year (not Tropic Thunder or Pineapple Express).

  4. David Poland says:

    I haven’t read Wanted, Kris. I am just responding to what they are selling. And they are selling around the hit movie, not a comic that never gets mentioned.
    That number, by the way, is one of the nervous ones.
    And Hulk could be bigger, for sure… but “good” will not have a lot to do with how much it grosses. Lots of action heroes this summer. Does it deliver more, visually, than the first?
    Legs versus Shyamalan/Hancock/Hellboy are not going to stretch easy. It’s going to open to over $50m to double my guess, I would argue.

  5. Nicol D says:

    It feels odd that there is a Star Wars movie out this summer that very few are aware of. I think the big challenge is for people to not think it is just an extension of the Clone Wars cartoons that came out a few years ago.
    As for Speed Racer, the more I see it, the better it looks I admit, but it makes me wonder why in the world they didn’t wait till later. It seems like the real odd man out in May. Narnia on one side with Iron Man on the other. And Indy waiting to take on them all.
    A very bizarre release decision in my book.

  6. OddDuck says:

    Could the Hulk trailers put out so far be any more underwhelming? What a letdown, especially on the heels of all that Iron Man goodness. Now there’s a movie that looks to have been executed pitch perfect…
    Also, after seeing some of the trailers for Speed Racer, I highly doubt very many adults are going to see it. It’s sensibility might even be mocked by teenagers. This thing looks aimed straight at 7-8 year olds. But the Wachowski brand name – it could easily scare some of those parents away, thinking no way is this really a family film. Or am I overestimating Joe SixPack’s ability to even remember who the Wachowski’s are.

  7. Geoff says:

    Good stuff, Dave.
    I think you could easily take $20 to $30 million from Indiana Jones and give it to Iron Man. I figure it’s going to open to 300-like numbers (not unreasonable) and have about the same legs.
    Other opinions: I think you are really overesimating The Clone Wars and The Happenning. People forget that part of the reason that M.Knight’s horror has been so accessible and big is that they have PG-13 – this one is being rated R.
    And take exactly what you said about Tropic Thunder and apply that to The Clone Wars – not EVERYTHING Star Wars is automatic, I know the Special Editions were huge (and you’re basically predicting Episode IV-re-release-like numbers for Clone), but the audience is going away. They are not going to turn out en masse for a cartoon that doesn’t even utilize the main characters. I think Warners would be happy with $70 million, if that.
    And yes, you’re underestimating the chick movies – you were so ahead of the curve on Hairspray and ate crap from every one about it, too, but… could you not see Mama Mia being able to do that? It’s got a bigger brand name and bigger stars – trust me, Universal will trot out the teens on this one, they’re not going to miss that demographic.
    Before last summer, I would have easily predicted low grosses for Sex and the City. But post-Simpsons? No way – New Line has got mad endorsements going for this thing, it is going to be omnipresent just like Simpsons and many men are going to be dragged and like Simpsons, there will big crowds going for ’90’s-nostolgia. And how many more times can we underestimate Sarah Jessica Parker? If undersold stuff like Family Stone and Failure to Launch can do $60 to $80 million, then SJP in this, HER baby, the one that made her, can easily doiuble that.
    Hancock, I would predict the same, but does any one else get a Wild, Wild West-vibe from this one? I don’t know, Smith seems to be getting smarter in his choices and Berg is on his way up – I just have a feeling this could really underperform. Thoughts, Dave?

  8. Rothchild says:

    You’re off by almost 200 on Wall-E.

  9. Rothchild says:

    And did you mean 167 for Tropic Thunder? It’s also important to keep in mind that Step Brothers is one of the funniest movies Will Ferrell has ever done. Walk Hard/Semi-Pro will screw with it a little bit, but it’s going to have major legs.

  10. Jerry Colvin says:

    Indy, Wall-E, Speed will be higher… Narnia, Iron Man, Hulk, and Hancock will be lower.

  11. EOTW says:

    OK. I’ve gotta totally hijack this. So, I’m with some friends the other night and they want to watch a horror flick. I don’t realyl go for these kinds of things, but when in Rome, right? So, they put this movie in called INSIDE, a french thing I had never heard of. Ever. To say the least, my shit is fucked up. I saw it Friday night and images won’t leave my head. Am I the only one who has seen this thing? Am I the only one who has been scarred by it? I admire the technique but, man this thing was brutal to sit through. Yeah, there are other places to discuss this type of thing, but I’d rather as smart(er) folk. Thanks.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Is that one of those Weinstein EXTREME horror films? (their caps, not mine).
    I say that if the first X-Files movie could manage $84m at the height of the series’ popularity, it seems like ten years later a sequel nobody but die-hards really want will be lucky to do half that.
    Likewise I see an underpromoted Star Wars cartoon going quite so high (WB instead of Fox? Is there a story in that?), and Shyamalan’s tarnished his own brand enough to weaken the opening of The Happening.

  13. David Poland says:

    Yes, EOTW… that would be appropriate for a BYOB entry comment…

  14. THX5334 says:

    When is the release date for Clone Wars?
    I don’t think there’s much of a story…
    Essentially, this is a big promo for the series, the series is going to be on Cartoon Network, which is owned by WB, so they get the feature promo release.
    Bottom line:
    This sucker is really Lucasfilm all the way.
    I want a Star Wars animated Appleseed Machina EX style…

  15. Dave, Journey to the Center of the Earth is 3D. Do you not think that could give it a boost?
    I thought The Clone Wars was a direct-to-DVD/TV series thing. Bizarre.
    Is there a precedent for movies like Hellboy 2 and Sisterhood 2 when the original didn’t exactly set the world on fire for the sequel to do better? Were they such home DVD hits like Austin Powers?

  16. doug r says:

    I’m thinking Iron Man will do Batman Begins numbers-over $200 million. Wall-E will do close to Nemo numbers, about Cars territory- more like $250 million. Much as I like Indy, more like $300 million.

  17. djiggs says:

    The figure for “The Dark Knight” is way too low. “The Dark Knight” is way too dark to be higher???
    The American public has made as dark films such as 300, Passion of the Christ, the last 2 Harry Potter movies, Pirates of The Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,etc. all over $200 million + blockbusters. I think that Warner Bros learned a lesson from Disney when they put POTC: Dead Man’s Chest after July 4th in 2006. “The Dark Knight” will have the highest 1st weekend at the box office. Look at the lacking competition that comes in the weekends following. I really expect Dark Knight to really surprise at the box office and maybe hit the magical $400 million mark.

  18. Devin Faraci says:

    400 million? Ell oh ell, my friend.
    The darkness of DARK KNIGHT is different from that of HARRY POTTER or PIRATES. It’s a humorless darkness, a movie that’s without wonder of any kind. It’s not just dark, it’s grim. It’s not a fun film.

  19. Blackcloud says:

    I think Batman Begins earned a lot of good will for Dark Knight, but not $400 million worth. $275 million would be great for it.
    It’ll be weird to have a Star Wars movie begin without the 20th Century Fox Fanfare. C’mon, don’t you think Star Wars when you hear the fanfare? I sure do.
    I think Wall*E will come in second behind Indy, followed by Caspian, Dark Knight, and Hancock. Same top 5 as Dave’s, just shuffled around a bit.

  20. IOIOIOI says:

    Under-selling Iron-Man is becoming a real bit of business around here. If it’s worth a damn. It could easily be the flick no one saw coming. If it’s not worth a damn. There will be a sequel anyway. HUZZAH!

  21. I think you’re madly underestimating Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey Jr. in blackface(ish) has people laughing their asses off, and there’s also the star power of Stiller and Black, not to mention, Tom Cruise as a fat bald guy… People love to laugh at Tom Cruise, I’m predicting over $100 mil at least. I could be wrong though.

  22. Tofu says:

    Funny, just watched Appleseed Ex Machina tonight. Just as vapid as the first, but worth a rental. Clone Wars looks… Terrible. And this is coming from a fan of the television series.
    Dark Knight will make $250 million minimum, and could surprise beyond that. Indiana Jones will pass $300 million. Those two are about the only surefire bets. Sandler always hit the $130 million arena, but this looks different. Wall-E has the chance of breaking out and being Pixar’s largest grosser yet. My estimates for X-Files & Speed Racer fall lower and lower, even as I become more interested in them myself.

  23. Tofu says:

    Hancock and Clone Wars could make $100 million less than what is projected here. Starship Dave could make only a third of what is projected. Tropic Thunder is generating very early buzz for such a late summer release.
    Wanted & Hellboy II would’ve had a better chance if they came out this month, not in June & July.

  24. Cadavra says:

    “how could you not see Mama Mia being able to do that? It’s got a bigger brand name and bigger stars”
    Yeah, but it’s wall-to-wall ABBA! That’s enough to keep me away, no matter how much I like the cast (and I do).
    “Step Brothers is one of the funniest movies Will Ferrell has ever done.”
    And George H.W. Bush is one of the best presidents named Bush we’ve ever had.

  25. Rothchild says:

    I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like Anchorman.

  26. PastePotPete says:

    My thoughts:
    -I didn’t really expect that lowball Speed Racer number in the list. I consider myself a doubter and even I think it will get to $180mil.
    -I agree with IOIOIOIO, Iron Man is being underestimated by a lot of people. Like Transformers was last year. I think $300mil is a realistic number for it. As long as it doesn’t suck.
    -I think the Indiana Jones number is too high. Indiana Jones is not Star Wars. It hasn’t been part of the landscape like Star Wars was and is. Also if it does $350mil, that’s Spielberg’s third highest grosser ever after ET and Jurassic Park. I just don’t see the kind of impetus behind it. The original films, adjusted for inflation, would suggest that high a number, but I think the 20 years inbetween sequels and retirement age leading man who hasn’t had a successful movie in 8(!) years are some compelling mitigating factors here. (What Lies Beneath being the last successful movie, though he hasn’t exactly done much in the interim, granted)
    -I agree with the Caspian number. It’s a more teenage male-skewing story than the last go-round, but has enough of the previous film’s elements to carry over the audience of the last.
    -Wall-E number seems a little lowball, that number is towards the lower end of Pixar’s scale. I can see it doing $240mil, unless it’s another Finding Nemo phenom.
    I think your estimates overall are pretty solid this year.

  27. LexG says:

    Anyone who goes to see WALL-E, whatever the FUCK that is, is a complete douchebag.
    KIDS MOVIES ARE FOR KIDS, all weak motherfuckers. NO ONE over the age of 9 should go to see anything ANIMATED. NEVER.

  28. doug r says:

    Does this mean you don’t watch Futurama or Simpsons or Flintstones? No Chuck Jones or Tex Avery? No Fritz the Cat, Lupo the Butcher, Heavy Metal or South Park?
    Reality is for those who can’t handle cartoons.

  29. SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU UNINTELLIGENT WASTE OF SPACE. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say LexG is the most annoying person I’ve ever come across during my 11 or so years of using the Internet. You’re lower than scum. i don’t care if it’s an act, it’s a shit act. Why does bad stuff happen to perfectly nice people and you continue to exist?
    (sorry, needed to get that off my chest – yet again)

  30. “Wall-E will do close to Nemo numbers, about Cars territory- more like $250 million.”
    Well, which is it? There’s over $100mil seperating Cars and Finding Nemo.
    And, guys, not every film released this summer is going to make over $100mil so it’s a bit silly to be predicting every movie as making over $100mil. I mean, Tropic Thunder? Really? But, fine, if that makes grosses $100mil then it’ll be at the expense of something else.

  31. Oh, I was wrong. There’s $95mil seperating Cars and Finding Nemo. Although there is $405mil seperating their worldwide totals.

  32. lazarus says:

    Lex can’t watch adult animation like Fritz the Cat or Heavy Metal because he’d just feel even more pathetic after masturbating to it. Maybe something like Ninja Scroll might be okay because of all the rough stuff.
    What would Lex do if forced to choose between losing a testicle or his Caps Lock key? Or is that the same thing?
    Kamikaze: Agreed.

  33. montrealkid says:

    I think the true surprise of the summer might just be the low-key Liv Tyler horror vehicle, The Strangers. Buzz around the web is that this thing is genuinely frightening.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    But has anyone actually seen The Strangers? The buzz around the web seems to be that the trailer is creepy. It’s been delayed a few times and that is almost never a good sign.

  35. jesse says:

    I think Tropic Thunder will do better than Dave’s estimate based on star-power and concept and release date… though I do wonder why they took it out of the first half of July, where there aren’t any really big companies, to mid-August, where it now trails Step Brothers *and* Pineapple Express — star-driven R-rated comedies that go after almost the exact same audience. Hell, they could’ve put it out anytime during May; the comedy competition is very female-driven until the Carell/Myers armageddon. That said, I think Tropic — taking the Apatow-comedy slot — has potential to outgross either of them (and I’m excited to see all three as a comedy fan).
    I think Dave may actually be underestimating Kung Fu Panda and Hulk by 20 or 30 mil (with inflation and character recognition, the new Hulk should at least equal Ang Lee’s, even if it would still be regarded as a disappointment).
    I don’t think Iron Man can get to 300. I know it’s not all about instant recognition, but with Batman and Superman movies only doing about 200, 300 for a character less well-known than, say, the Fantastic Four seems unlikely. Dave’s estimate looks right to me.
    The Love Guru looks kinda bad but I can’t imagine a Mike Myers comedy doing less than 70 or 80 even if it sucks and/or people hate it (not the same thing).
    Even with Will Smith, I think the Hancock estimate is too high. It looks interesting but could be confusing compared to the easy sells of I Am Legend or Men in Black.
    My predictions right now:
    1. Indy – $325+
    2. Wall-E – $275
    3. Dark Knight – $250
    4. Prince Caspian – $220
    5. Hancock – $205
    6. Kung Fu Panda – $200
    7. Iron Man – $180
    8. New Hulk – $145
    9. Speed Racer – $140
    10. Tropic Thunder – $120
    I could see Get Smart wedging into the lower part of the ten, too.
    What will be the surprise bomb? I could see it happening with Mummy 3 (at very least, I’m guessing there will a Rush Hour 3 scaling-back of grosses, as Dave has predicted). I could also see a big Caspian shortfall — not sure why. Maybe I’m clouded by really not caring for the first one.

  36. jesse says:

    That should be comedies, not companies, above. D’oh.

  37. Tofu says:

    Summer isn’t the best time for Fantasy, and the Winter Holidays isn’t the best time for Sci-Fi. Narnia will have a dropoff similar to that of Harry Potter 2 due to the original’s reception, and maybe a slightly bigger dropoff like Harry Potter 3 which was released in an equally busy summer season.

  38. doug r says:

    Since I apparently need to clarify:
    I’m getting a Finding Nemo vibe off of WALL-E, but it won’t do quite as well, probably about as well as Cars.
    I’m getting a Spiderman vibe off Iron Man, but I don’t think there’s quite as much of a market for him. Batman Begins is a good base to work from. More than $200 million, less than $275 million.

  39. doug r says:

    Remember what I said about The Simpsons?

  40. Jimmy the Gent says:

    someone asked if there was a track record of movies like Hellboy and Sisterhood spawning sequels when they didn’t perform like blockbusters upon their initial release?
    A cautionary example is Eddie and the Cruisers, which became a HUGE hit due to HBO, video, and a soundtrack that filled a void while Springsteen was making Tunnel of Love.
    The summer of ’89 saw Eddie and the Cruisers 2: Eddie Lives!.
    The summer of ’91 saw Beastmaster 2 and The Return to the Blue Lagoon.
    The summer of ’93 saw Another Stakeout.
    The summer of ’90 saw Young Guns II, which was actually better than the first Young Guns.
    I could go on.

  41. yancyskancy says:

    I suck at predicting grosses, so I won’t even try. I’m curious about Hancock, because all I know about it is that it’s based on a buzzed-about script, stars the indomitable Smith and is directed by the interesting but erratic Berg. I’ve seen no trailers, and the posters and standees all seem to be giant Will heads. I’m sure once the marketing kicks into high gear, it’ll be easier to gauge the full potential, but I suppose it would be foolish to bet against Smith in a summer slot.
    I grew up with Batman comics and have loved the character even in his wackier incarnations, up through the two Burton films. While Batman Begins was a huge improvement over the Schumacher debacles, I still didn’t like it, so I can’t get too worked up over Dark Knight (though I’m sure it’ll be huge). The trailers have done nothing for me, except stoke some non-morbid curiosity about Ledger’s performance.

  42. David Poland says:

    My thing on Wall-E, Doug, is that I think it will get massive reviews and not be quite the repeat view for kids that Nemo was… maybe more of a repeat business thing for adults. It is, actually, a silent film, but I think kids will be fine with that.
    I do think Wall-E could be the biggest Pixar movie overseas EVER.

  43. TuckPendleton says:

    Arent’t all Will Ferrell’s films “throwaway”? In tone, execution, intention, aspiration, etc. I know DP was speaking to commercial prospects, but it seems “throwaway” is a nice term to encapsulate the dry, non sequiteur, snarky aside films WF turns out…
    I think Wanted will do a lot better. It would’ve done better in August, maybe, but with a cast of McAvoy, Jolie, Freeman…one would hope there would have to be something special there for them to sign on. I hope it raises the level of the Matrix. That’s the vibe I get from the trailer.
    Would love to see Iron Man get into the 200m club.
    I also think Speed will find its legs and be the highest of the 200m grossers…

  44. Josh Massey says:

    You’ve overshot Star Wars by at least $100 million.
    Absolutely nobody cares about this aside from the fanboys.

  45. lazarus says:

    Josh, if any little boy sees a trailer for Clone Wars before another animated film, he’s going to want to see it. The prequels didn’t gross over a billion domestic just from sentimental geeks.

  46. Josh Massey says:

    If that overrated Cartoon Network show didn’t exist, you might be able to convince me this would be something that would draw people in. But folks won’t separate it from that, and they’re not going to pay for what they perceive to be a big-screen version of a cartoon they never even watched when it was free.
    That said, it will do fine on DVD.

  47. Rob says:

    Wanted and anything with Brendan Fraser kind of seem like the obvious flops.
    I guess David really liked Swing Vote, ’cause $65 million for a Kevin Costner comedy seems pretty high.
    I definitely feel like the comedy pile-up is going to be the story of the season. Love Guru and Get Smart on the same day? I have a feeling Guru is going to take the hit there, as the trailer is excruciating and Mike Myers has done nothing to curry anyone’s favor (aside from voicing Shrek) in years. The August adult comedy morass is going to be tough, too. Why are Pineapple Express and Step Brothers opening so close to each other?

  48. IOIOIOI says:

    Did not even watch when it was on cartoon network? Are ye bloody kidding me? The DVDs sold. Thus explaining why Lucas went and made his own Clone Wars flick. Good on you Josh to ignore the logic of lazarus’ comments and still act as if Star Wars is loathed. When the kids freakin love it. Yeah. They are going to stay away. Sure.

  49. Hopscotch says:

    An Agent friend of mine told me years ago – this is before Costner signed on, before a studio had agreed to make it – that SWING VOTE was by far the best unproduced script she’d ever read.
    And had someone told me in April ’06 that Little Miss Sunshine was going to bank HALF as much as it did, I’d say they were crazy so you never know.
    I love this thread because through people’s predictions you can see the movies they most desire to be hits and which ones they’re dying to see fail. Wall-E and Iron Man seem to be getting lots of love. Everyone’s waiting to hate Love Guru.

  50. Dr Wally says:

    I agree that the Clone Wars estimate is too high. It wasn’t even intended as a theatrical feature if i remember rightly? Remember those benighted Ewok movie spinoffs of the mid-’80’s? Rinse, repeat. I love Star Wars (well, maybe not Episode 1) but will wait for Blu-ray for this one.
    I also think that The Happening, R-rating or no, will do very well. WB are very cleverly selling it on the back of Shyamalan’s well-liked earlier work (“You’ve SENSED it. You’ve seen the SIGNS”) , as if to reassure us that Night is back doing his thing and that this is nothing like his goofy last couple of flicks.
    Length more than anything (2:45 running time last i heard) will stop Dark Knight doing anything over $250m. I think Indy will top $400 million – Paramount have spent about 25 cents on advertising and have the most-watched trailer of all time. And apparently Fandango are getting more enquiries for Indy tickets than all other pending movie releases PUT TOGETHER. The two-decade gap between movies won’t matter a jot, for those over 30 it’s a welcome reprise of a movie legend (remember, Raiders of the Lost Ark is as old now as Casablanca was THEN), for those newbies it’s a completely new franchise (look for Shia rather than Harrison on MTV and Nickelodeon in the coming weeks).

  51. Eric says:

    If Dark Knight is as good as Batman Begins, then two and a half hours is about half as long as I wish it would be.

  52. Cadavra says:

    “I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like Anchorman.”
    That’s amusingly ironic, coming from someone named Rothchild.
    And yes, ANCHORMAN was a total waste of my time.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    I liked Anchorman, but I liked Talladega Nights more.
    I think anyone who couldn’t at least chuckle at that one…

  54. I don’t think Indy can get to $400mil. The teens just don’t know him well enough.
    We’re selling the Clone Wars season one and two DVD sets at work right now. That’s where I was getting confused. What exactly is the movie, then? Other than a blatant cashin?!
    I pretty much agree with all of Jesse’s numbers except for Tropic Thunder. I see that as an $80mil mid size kinda movie.
    Stellas Boy, people generally don’t seem to go watch horror movies during summer.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    People go to see ghost-story type movies like The Others, The Sixth Sense, or 1408 – movies that the whole family (more or less) can see. The market for gruesome slasher-type movies is more limited.

  56. Well, yes, and The Strangers is exactly the kind of film that falls into the category of what people don’t see. Even if it turns out to be good. And considering it was apparently modeled closely on the french horror flick Ils, there’s a good chance it’ll be scary.
    Speaking of which, wasn’t Ils fuckin’ terrifying? Even if it was barely a movie at all.

  57. Stella's Boy says:

    I didn’t mean to imply that horror in summer is popular. I was merely responding to the assertion that The Strangers is some kind of brilliant horror flick. I am under the impression that no one has actually seen it, and that the buzz is completely centered around what many feel is a good trailer.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    Ils was pretty good as 70-minute long collection of scary scenes with no characters or story. The same directors also did the remake of The Eye which I skipped so I have no idea if they can actually manage something bigger or more complicated.

  59. Boonwell says:

    CASABLANCA did not come out in 1962 (19 years before RAIDERS’ 1981 release).

  60. LexG says:

    Two big Liv Tyler movies in one summer. Yay!
    She’s been low-profile for ages, so glad to see her back.

  61. Lynch Van Sant says:

    Prince Caspian will do less than first movie, maybe $250mil. Long epic fantasies do better in winter, see Harry Potter.
    I don’t think Iron Man is well-known enough to hit $200mil, plus Downey Jr. as a lead won’t exactly bring people in (though I love his work), so I say $140mil tops.
    Hancock will have goodWill from Smith’s previous hits but superhero spoofs have never worked in the past (tv’s Greatest American Hero coming the closest). I see Wall-E taking audience away from this Wild Wild West vibing film. I say $180mil.
    People like bang bang movies over the 4th of July so I think Wanted will do double your estimate, around $120mil.
    Btw, The International got delayed recently to Feb/2009. And on a personal note, as a rabid X-Files fan, I can’t wait for the new movie.

  62. Doesn’t Iron Man feel like it’s in the same spot that X-Men was back in 2000? Downey Jr, Paltrow and Howard are a bit more “starrish” than Jackman, McKellen and Berry though. But, still…
    Jeff, agreed that there was nothing substantial to Ils, but what was there still had be jumping and gasping and clenching my fist in fright. And I saw it at a film festival so the cinema was 500 full, which was a bit more embarassing than it would’ve been normally.

  63. JohnBritt says:

    $13 million is way too low for the Strangers in a summer release season. Horror movies get to that even when they don’t have a great trailer working for them that the Strangers have. The marketing campaign for this movie is right on the money. I am a horror fan, and I am very excited about that movie, more than any horror film in a long time. Even when I have seen the trailer with a large audience, there are a lot of screams, followed by people around me going “I want to see that.” The one sheet is brilliant too, capturing the essence of the trailer. I think you will be surprised.

  64. Cadavra says:

    I saw the trailer. Torture porn is torture porn, even when it’s PG-13 with a reduced level of blood-letting. Sorry, not interested.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    I know I’m just setting myself up for abuse, but not all horror movies involving people being chased and brutalized are created equal.

  66. Cadavra says:

    Certainly not. But it’s still an ugly and useless subgenre. Isn’t there plenty of suffering in the world already without asking people to pay to see even more of it?

  67. jeffmcm says:

    Well, I disagree. Psycho is a pretty good movie, and so are the original Halloween and Dawn of the Dead.
    I don’t disagree that there are ugly and useless movies, but I draw the line somewhere else.

  68. jeffmcm says:

    (Yes, I know you didn’t say ‘horror movies’ but I find the line between so-called ‘torture porn’ and everything else fuzzy and arbitrary).

  69. Cadavra says:

    Actually, I find the line very easy to spot. There is a world of difference between killing someone relatively quickly and dragging out the process so the victim suffers physically and emotionally. There is a world of difference between trying to thrill an audience and making them squirm with disgust. And there’s a universe of difference between rooting for the victims to survive and rooting for the villain to kill everyone, preferably with as much viscera splashing against the walls as the R will allow.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    And I would say that there have been good and valid movies made which fit two of those three categories – Texas Chainsaw Massacre ’74 and Audition, for example – and we don’t know yet if The Strangers does, itself, yet.

  71. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah Cadavra, you really seem to be jumping the gun on The Strangers. How do you know anyone dies in it at all, although I’m sure the villains do. The movie seems more like a thriller than a horror movie (sometimes a fine distinction).
    What’s the length of time it takes for a character to die anyway, before the movie becoems torture porn? It took Janet Leigh a while to die in Psycho.

  72. Cadavra says:

    You are correct that I don’t know if anyone dies in STRANGERS, but that’s rather beside the point. Torture does not necessarily end in death. What’s wrong with it, in real life as well as in the movies, is that it’s about sick people getting their rocks off on other people’s prolonged suffering. I can only go by the trailer, but it doesn’t look all that different to me from FUNNY GAMES.
    BTW, Leigh’s death scene in PSYCHO lasts no more than 45 seconds.

  73. jeffmcm says:

    Cadavra, I just hope you can understand if your tastes and motivations are not shared. The movies I mentioned above are intelligent, purposeful, and involve characters who are brutally tortured – but for a reason. I hate to be the guy who’s constantly sounding off on this subject, but phrases like “sick people getting their rocks off on other people’s prolonged suffering” is insulting to the filmmakers who work in this field with integrity and the audiences who appreciate their work.

  74. jeffmcm says:

    BTW, Cadavra, nothing personal and you’re one of my favorite people on here. It’s just a sore subject with me.

  75. Cadavra says:

    Understood, absolutely. Agreeing to disagree is a hallmark of civilized people. And obviously my feelings about these films are not universally shared, otherwise they wouldn’t still be making them.
    BTW, just to be clear, my admiration for both PSYCHO and TCM (I assume you’re talking about the originals) is complete and unambiguous. I did not mean to imply that torture should NEVER be depicted onscreen, only that using it as a film’s raison d’etre (e.g., the SAW and HOSTEL series) is appalling, at least to me. I did not see AUDITION, because a friend warned me not to, but I’ve seen other Miike pictures and I’ll gladly stipulate that it’s not just the usual rubbish.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    Agree on the Saw movies, which are loathsome (although the original rises to the level of the merely mediocre).

  77. The Big Perm says:

    Cadavra, I just think it’s incredibly goofy to come out so hard against The Strangers as some torture porn movie when
    a) You don’t know if anyone is even killed in it, and
    b) You don’t know if anyone is tortured in it.
    I mean, seriously…stuff like that just makes you look like a loonyy reactionary.

  78. Cadavra says:

    I wasn’t aware that “sorry, not interested” could be equated with “come out so hard against.” Plus I’ve already stipulated that I’m going by the trailer, which I assume is a reasonably accurate representation of what transpires. Plus there’s this plot outline from the IMDB:
    A couple staying in an isolated vacation house receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three strangers, their faces hidden behind masks. The couple find themselves in a violent struggle, in which they go beyond what either of them thought capable in order to survive.
    Plus these keywords:
    Country House
    Psycho Thriller
    Vacation Home
    Home Invasion
    Female Killer
    Butcher Knife
    Car Crash
    Based On Supposedly True Story
    Masked Man
    Call me crazy, but all that doesn’t exactly sound like SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN to me.
    And as for me being a loony reactionary: hell, son, I voted for McGovern and have drifted leftward ever since!

  79. jeffmcm says:

    Nobody minded that you said ‘not interested’, it was when you called it ‘torture porn’ that was the loaded phrase.
    Based on the trailer, I have a feeling it’ll be more like last year’s Vacancy than anything else, which wasn’t a great movie but it wasn’t especially objectionable either. The Poughkeepsie Tapes, which I thought would have come out by now, looks much more ‘porny’ to me.
    I’m really just waiting for Midnight Meat Train, myself.

  80. Nicol D says:

    “I’m really just waiting for Midnight Meat Train, myself.”
    Which of course says much about you, Jeff. Be sure to clean the vaseline off the seat, eh.

  81. jeffmcm says:

    Vaseline on a seat? No idea what hijinks you have in mind, mamajama.

  82. Stella's Boy says:

    Ouch Nicol. That is stooping quite low. I am looking forward to that movie as well. Please, enlighten me, what does that say about me? I can’t wait to tell my wife and son all about what a bad person you say I am because I want to see a horror movie.

  83. Nicol D says:

    Good grief. It was obviously a joke about torture porn. The operative word being “joke”. Even Jeff didn’t get all bothered by it.
    Midnight Meat Train was one of the first modern stories I read. I loved it.
    Sheesh. Lighten up. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  84. Cadavra says:

    I looked up MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN on the IMDB. Given the caliber of talent involved, I can only assume it was a huge paycheck for all involved.

  85. jeffmcm says:

    Not sure what you mean – Ryuhei Kitamura was no doubt happy to have an opportunity to break through to American audiences, and who in the cast is that high-caliber, Brooke Shields? Leslie Bibb? Vinnie Jones? Even Roger Bart is coming off of (an excellent performance in) Hostel 2.

  86. LexG says:

    MEAT TRAIN will OWN your ass.
    Bradley Cooper has been a lot of big movies and TV, yet he’s still a perennial second banana… likable actor, though.
    “Torture porn” is such an annoying term, anyway. What’s “porn” about it, exactly? Just a nice juxtaposition of words that sounded cutesy and everybody ran with it, but it’s not very logical and it’s extremely overrused.

  87. jeffmcm says:

    You may not be helping the argument.

  88. Cadavra says:

    My opinion is that Shields (successful TV series), Bart (hit Broadway musical), Cooper (four films in the can and one filming now) and, to a lesser extent, Bibb and Jones would, at least to my eyes, appear to be sufficiently busy to not have to accept a role in a film with a title like MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN unless there was serious dough involved.
    Now, it’s entirely possible that this will be a good movie. But that title makes me think that it’s just another axe-wielding-maniac fest with the novelty of a subway setting–in other words, MIMIC with a slasher instead of giant bugs. DOOMSDAY was totally derivative, but at least it was done with some style and wit; this just looks like one more big yawn.

  89. jeffmcm says:

    Mimic is pretty good; I have faith in Kitamura; Shields’ show wasn’t a hit when she made this movie; and you don’t make a movie with a title like Midnight Meat Train unless you’re intending to be partially tongue-in-cheek anyway.

  90. Cadavra says:

    Well, I would hope so! In any event, I’ll wait for the reviews, and maybe give it a shot if indeed it does appear to be not just the SOSO.

  91. christian says:

    MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN is undoubtedly the best title of the year. The fact it’s a Clive Barker film promises that it will be the opposite of the word “best.”

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